Save Earth: Stop Eating Meat!
Let's Save Our Planet
You may be asking yourself; how can I save Earth by giving up meat? Well, we are going to explain, so read on!
Meat has always been a part of the diet of the majority of humans on Earth. However, we never really consumed it the way we do today. In the past, meat was a food to only be consumed on special occasions, and most families only had it on Sundays. The rest of their diet was made up of vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, and other plants. Eating meat also usually wasn’t an easy feat. It had to be hunted for, or the family had to kill their own livestock.
Contrasting that to today, when we have meat readily available to us 24/7, and some people have it on their plate several times per day. One can’t help but wonder what impact this change has had on the planet we live on.
Getting meat onto our plate is as easy as walking into a supermarket and picking it up off a shelf – and that’s exactly what most people do! However, this change doesn’t come without its consequences, especially when it comes to impact on mother nature. Knowing this, what can we do to save Earth from our new consumption patterns?
The environmental footprint of meat
Meat pollutes the planet in many different aspects. This is why we have divided its impact into categories of environmental issues and challenges.
Contribution to climate change
Meat has a remarkably high carbon footprint. In fact, data from Our World in Data shows that it isn’t as much where our food comes from that affects our carbon footprint, but what the food is. In meat, many factors contribute to the carbon footprint, but none are as unavoidable as the digestive system of animals.
You may be wondering why it is that beef, lamb, and mutton have by far the highest carbon footprint of all foods. This is because cows and sheep produce methane as they digest (a fast-acting greenhouse gas), that’s very dangerous in the short run.
Deforestation and habitat destruction
To make space for all the food for livestock, rainforests are often being cut down and replaced with fields to cultivate livestock feed. Rainforests aren’t just places of outstanding natural beauty. They are also home to a wide variety of plants and animals going extinct because of deforestation. Often, other foods get mistakenly blamed for this process, when in fact, animal agriculture is one of the leading causes!
Take this, for example – one common crop known for being cultivated in areas where rainforests had been cut down, is soy. However, did you know that most of this soy (80%) is fed to livestock?
Cause of future pandemics
Most of us don’t remember an occurrence that would negatively impact our lives as much as the COVID-19 pandemic. Did you know that three-quarters of new diseases humans are affected by come from animals?
Factory farms increase the likelihood of disease spreading from animals to humans, but so do other practices associated with meat production. Mainly, it’s the deforestation process caused by the need for livestock feed. As humans are cutting down forests, they come into contact with wild species, some of which could be carrying highly infectious diseases.
While this isn’t strictly an environmental issue, the pandemic has also had a negative impact on the environment. This is due to the increased need for single-use plastic or increase in food waste.
Can’t we just eat organic?
Eating organic, grass-fed meat is often used as an alternative and referred to as more sustainable and ethical. So, can’t we just switch to organic meats to resolve the issue?
The short answer is no. Now, here is the long answer. Grass-fed, organic meat takes a lot more land to produce. This is because the animals need space to run around outside. This is much better for the animals. However, there simply isn’t enough land on Earth to sustain the demand animal agriculture is receiving now. If we want to reduce our impact on the environment and save Earth, we will need to reduce our consumption. Just switching to a more ethical and eco-friendly source is not enough.
Additionally, eating organic doesn’t decrease environmental threats related to meat production at all. For example, all cows will always produce methane as they digest. This cannot be reduced by producing beef organically.
How to stop eating meat?
If you are someone who doesn’t really enjoy meat in the first place, you may find going vegetarian a piece of cake. However, as we all have different likes and dislikes, you may also be someone who eats meat daily, and can’t imagine giving it up. While in that scenario, it may be a little harder for you to stop eating meat, it’s not impossible. It actually makes for a more rewarding experience in the end! 🙂
In order to save earth, the first thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to stop eating meat overnight. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to see any more meat after finding out about its environmental impact, certainly do so. However, if you don’t do well with sudden changes (as most of us don’t), eliminate one type of meat at a time, until you’ve stopped eating meat completely. For example, dedicate your first month to quitting red and processed meats. Next, give up chicken and other poultry in the second month. Then, dedicate the third month to eliminating fish and seafood from your diet. Lastly, give up any hidden meat, such as gelatine, in your last month.
There are plant-based alternatives to meat available in many stores – make use of them to satisfy your cravings. No, they are not going to taste exactly the same, but plant-based food manufacturers are making more progress every day. Keep an open mind and experiment with what you can find in the vegetarian section of the supermarket.
Lastly, always keep in mind why you’ve decided to stop eating meat – to save Earth. Yes, some steps are going to be challenging, but always keep the end goal in mind!
If you need help to take your next step into a meat free lifestyle, why not check out our Personalised Grocery List service.
We'd also be delighted to have you join our community - our amazing “Healing through food” movement!