If you're like those of us at Good & Fugly, you're busy juggling a career, family, and social life. You don't always have time to worry about solving climate change, but what if there was something you could do to help fight it that didn't involve a lot of extra work and saved a little money at the same time. Believe it or not, using up that Good & Fugly box and eating less meat make a real difference. Keep reading to find out how!
As the global demand for meat and dairy products continues to rise, more and more land is being cleared for livestock production. In the Amazon, vast tracts of forest are being cleared to make way for cattle grazing and the cultivation of soybean, which is used as animal feed. Often, fire is used to clear the land, which transfers huge amounts carbon out of carbon sinks and into the atmosphere in the form of CO2. The loss of habitat also has a devastating impact on local wildlife, as many species are unable to adapt to new surroundings.
Animal agriculture is also a major contributor to soil degradation and of global methane emissions. In some cases, farmers allow livestock to graze pastureland intensively. This can lead to bare soil, which is then easily eroded by wind or rain. As a result, fertile lands become barren and water ways become clogged increasing the risk of flooding. Methane enters the atmosphere when cows and other ruminants belch, producing 250-500 liters of methane a day. In factory farming facilities, where livestock is raised in close quarters, the animals' waste is collected in holding ponds which produces even more methane than in pasture-fed production.
Often, manure runs off into waterways causing pollution. This is a major problem because it can lead to the spread of disease, contaminate drinking water supplies and cause oxygen levels in the water to drop, leading to the death of fish and other aquatic creatures.
Not only does meat production potentially pollute water it also consumes water at a huge rate. Pound for pound, meat has a much higher water footprint than vegetables, grains, or beans. A single pound of beef takes, on average, 1,800 gallons of water to produce. That’s the equivalent of two months’ worth of showers!
There’s no denying that meat consumption has a major impact on the environment. The production of meat requires a lot of land, water, and energy, and it results in a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. However, you don’t have to go vegan or vegetarian to reduce your impact. Even making small changes to your diet can make a big difference. Here are a few easy ways to cut back on meat:
- Limit meat at meals: Fill your plate with mostly fruits, vegetables, and grains, and add a small portion of meat as an accent.
- Make Meatless Monday part of your routine: Once a week, commit to eating vegetarian meals all day long.
- Incorporate plant-based protein sources into your meals: Beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh are all great options.
Reducing your meat consumption is one way to help combat climate change. So why not give it a try? Good & Fugly will help you stock up on fruits and vegetables to get started!