Think of the Cows and Save the World

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How not eating meat everyday can help you and the environment

Climate change is an enormous issue that needs to be solved, but it can be hard to see how little action we take every day can help prevent it from getting worse.

“Seventeen of the 18 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998,” climate.nasa.gov has reported. Greater recycling efforts and energy-efficient buses have been implemented in the Greater Lansing community, which is a step we should take pride in having made. But there are more small steps that we can take. For instance, reducing the amount of meat we produce and eat can help better our environment in tremendous ways. 

Multiple factors contribute to meat production that makes the process harmful to the environment. Deforestation is the cause of 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and transportation causes 27 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to climatecouncil.org and epa.gov. The Humane Society of the United States also found that in the U.S., 37 percent of methane emissions (which have 20 times the effect 

on increasing global warming and have been proven to cause depletion to the ozone layer) are released in livestock agriculture. 

Damian Carrington of “The Guardian” reported that “… Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet … The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75 percent – an area equivalent to the U.S., China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world.”  

Apart from the direct impacts that meat production has on the environment, it has many impacts on human life as well. Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss from scientificamerican.com talked to David Pimentel, an ecologist of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Pimentel said ‘“… If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.” He adds that the 7 billion livestock in the U.S. consumes five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire U.S. population.”

Along with the environmental benefits of lessening the amount of meat we eat, there are health benefits as well. Many studies have been done that name the fats in meat as a risk for heart disease. The high cholesterol in meats is one of the main factors that lead to coronary artery disease, a type of heart disease (cdc.gov). 

With all of this information, it is easy to claim that not eating any meat would be the best course of action, but there are side effects to becoming vegetarian or vegan that need to be taken into consideration, the most notable being are of nutrient deficiencies. These nutrient deficiencies (iron, protein and vitamin B-12) can lead to lowered rates of oxygen distribution throughout the body, bone growth, and lower brain and nervous system functions, according to livestrong.com. Make sure you look into supplements that could provide these nutrients or do some research before leaving meat out of your diet. 

If you are unable to give up meat, try to be conscious of your meat consumption. Best said by greenpeace.org “We all must develop ‘meat consciousness’ and reduce the level of meat in our diets … If we decide to eat fewer meals with meat or dairy each week, we can have a huge impact on our collective health and the health of the planet.”