Sunday, November 22, 2009

Can You Be Both "Green" and a Meat Eater?

Not unless you're eating cultured meat.

While driving a Hummer will cause you to get dirty looks pretty much anywhere, eating meat is only passé in Portland or San Francisco. But it seems that is starting to change.

 Scientists, professors, informed individuals, the news media are starting to all pay attention to the environmental impact of our food choices on the environment.

Carnegie Melon's Christopher Weber tells how giving up meat and dairy just one day a week would be the equivalent of driving 1,500 fewer miles a year.  Read his full report here, a brief blog on Earth Sky here or listen to his 90 sec Earth Sky interview here:

(But we've still got a lot of work to do, because it takes two vegans to make up for every one Hummer driver.) 

Here are some more recent studies:
A widely touted 2006 United Nations study found that livestock were responsible for 19% of greenhouse gas emissions. The study is highly regarded and, spanning over 300 pages, is extremely comprehensive. At the same time, it is filled with easy to read language, pictures and helpful charts. You may find a table of contents with individual pdfs on relevant sections here, or you may download the complete pdf here.

This month, a study by two World Bank scientists examined the UN's study's result and found that it didn't take into the affect of the deforestation that occurs due to meat production, and the CO2 expiration of the billions of livestock. Taking these and other factors into account, the study concluded that the number was 51%!

This year, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency found that reducing world intake of meat by about 40% would save $20 trillion on the costs of reducing GHG emissions!

A newly minted study by Hanna Tuomisto at the University of Oxford predicts that cultured meat will eat will likely reduce green house gas emissions by 80%, use 30-60% less energy (depending on the type of meat), 98% less land and between 90-98% less water.

The In Vitro Meat Consortium has a good summary on how how cultured meat can help mitigate much of the catastrophic harm that meat production has on the environment.
Read it here.

For more information on meat's impact on the environment read this interesting article.

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