Less Meat For Climate Change

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 6:46 PM






Reading about methane emissions and climate change might feel a little overwhelming, especially when you begin to wonder what you could possibly do to help with the problem! You’ll be happy to know there are actually many different ways that you as a consumer can help reduce methane (and other greenhouse gas) emissions. One of the most significant ways, starts right in your own kitchen. Reducing yours and your family’s meat consumption can go a long way to limiting the harmful methane emissions that come from the livestock industry.  

According to Science Magazine, 25% of all methane emissions come from the livestock industry [1], a number that will only grow in the coming years. Currently, there are 50% more cows (and similar animals) than a half a century ago and the methane released by their digestive systems is “the biggest human-related source of methane gas” [2].  Further, at the rate that meat consumption is growing now the livestock industry is on track to rise 75% by 2050, with dairy also rising by 65% [3].

In the industrialized world, people typically consume 90 kilograms of meat a year, which equals about 230 grams a day. This is the equivalent of a side of beef, 50 chickens, and one whole pig. However in developing nations meat consumption is much less, closer to just 30 kilograms a year. If we were able to cut our meat consumption from 230 grams a day to just 90, it would have a significant impact on methane emissions, ultimately slowing the rate of global climate change [4].

So what does this change look like? Well, 230 grams of meat is a little more than a half of a pound, which is a lot of meat to be eating per day! If we reduce meat consumption to just 90 grams a day, that would be closer to a quarter of a pound of meat. This is an easy change to make by just eating meat in one meal a day. Have a chicken breast or burger patty with dinner, but cut out the sausage for breakfast. 


To make sure your not eating to much meat in one sitting, just picture a deck of cards, a piece of meat the size of a deck of cards is approximately 1/4lb.

With all of the alternative protein sources out there, people don’t need meat in every single meal. Reducing your meat consumption to just ¼ lb. a day would have a huge impact on the environment, not to mention your health!


References:
[1] http://thorneandderrick.com/methane-gas-detection-know-the-risks/
[2] http://ecowatch.com/2013/12/26/meat-tax-reduce-methane-emissions-global-warming/
[3] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/03/eating-less-meat-curb-climate-change
[4] http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5347


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