Absolutely no one is shocked by new research that concludes beef is the worst thing to eat. If we’re going to feed billions of people on the planet while also having a livable planet for billions then we all ought to consume less meat. Raising cattle only to slaughter is a wasteful use of land that can otherwise feed way more people and cause a lot less damage to the environment.
The production of food makes up a third of greenhouse gas emissions so just by making a small change to your diet you can make it easier on future generations to survive. Eat less meat, eat more vegetables.
The researchers built a database that provided a consistent emissions profile of 171 crops and 16 animal products, drawing data from more than 200 countries. They found that South America is the region with the largest share of animal-based food emissions, followed by south and south-east Asia and then China. Food-related emissions have grown rapidly in China and India as increasing wealth and cultural changes have led more younger people in these countries to adopt meat-based diets.
The paper’s calculations of the climate impact of meat is higher than previous estimates – the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organizationhas saidabout 14% of all emissions come from meat and diary production. The climate crisis is also itself a cause of hunger,with a recent study findingthat a third of global food production will be at risk by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at their current rate.
We are what we eat, and what we eat can change the world. All of us can make tiny changes in the kitchen to help reduce the harm modern food consumption does on the planet. Over at Eater they explore some ideas that people can try in their kitchen to improve their diet while also improving the planet. The really neat thing in this article is that it promotes us to learn from lockdowns during the pandemic when we all ended up making more home cooked meals.
Do what you can keep doing
Since the pandemic began, many of us have adopted efficient shopping and cooking practices out of necessity, but maintaining those habits post-pandemic could help make our lifestyles greener (and easier) in the long run. Look for stores reintroducing self-serve bulk sections and invest in quality food containers to continue saving money on ingredients in bulk, cut down on packaging, and reduce the number of trips to the store. Even if you return to the office, continue prepping meals on weekends and remain flexible with how you use ingredients to ensure you always have a decent meal after work. Clean the kitchen faster by integrating composting into your cooking routine, and reorganize your fridge to keep perishable ingredients visible to avoid food waste in the back. And pass down all these good habits to your kids, along with family recipes, to make them great helpers in the future.
The new alternatives to meat like the Beyond Burger are remarkably better for the environment than processed animals. This is found by a research team at the University of Michigan who looked into the carbon footprint of different processed hamburger patties (veggie and meat). They found that one Beyond Burger patty has a carbon footprint of 400g, whereas the same sized beef patty has a footprint of 3,700g. Reducing your carbon footprint by making tiny changes to your diet is getting easier every year.
Production of the dominant ingredients – pea protein, canola oil, coconut oil – represent important contributions to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE), energy use and land use. Packaging also is an important contributor across all impact categories: the polypropylene tray is the largest contributor to packaging’s share of GHGE, energy use, and water use, whereas fiber production for cardboard and pallets make notable contributions to land use. We estimate that switching to a polypropylene tray made of 100% postconsumer recycled content could reduce the overall GHGE of the BB life cycle by 2% and reduce energy use by 10%.
Obviously, a diet change to consume less meat is good for animal mortality but what you might not know is that a mass shift to plant based diet is good for everyone’s health. New research has identified that the pollution caused by meat production is responsible premature death of over 17,000 in the USA alone. Therefore, the more people who reduce their meat consumption the less harm will be done to people. Perhaps it’s time to cut subsidies to pollution intensive farms as we aim to reduce pollution and carbon output.
Yes, this is a global problem which requires systemic changes; however, you can do something about by simply switching your beef patties for any plant based ones.
The researchers estimated air quality deaths related to 95 different agricultural commodities in the United States, using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Subsequently, they estimated the per-unit annual impact of 67 products from 11 food groups. Products ranged from beef to beans.
The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is really all about having a healthy diet to stay healthy, and this is the year to increase your apple consumption. 2021 is International Year of Fruits and Vegetables as celebrated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Use this as inspiration to try some fruit and veggies which you’re curious about and find a new way to cook with them.
Maybe this is the year you plant your own “victory garden” and grow a small amount of produce on your own.
Previously we celebrated the best FAO year: pulses.
Objectives of the IYFV 2021
Raising awareness of and directing policy attention to the nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetables consumption;
Promoting diversified, balanced, and healthy diets and lifestyles through fruits and vegetables consumption;
Reducing losses and waste in fruits and vegetables food systems;
Sharing best practices on:
Promotion of consumption and sustainable production of fruits and vegetables that contributes to sustainable food systems;
Improved sustainability of storage, transport, trade, processing, transformation, retail, waste reduction and recycling, as well as interactions among these processes;
Integration of smallholders including family farmers into local, regional, and global production, value/supply chains for sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables, recognizing the contributions of fruits and vegetables, including farmers’ varieties/landraces, to their food security, nutrition, livelihoods and incomes;
Strengthening the capacity of all countries, specially developing countries, to adopt innovative approaches and technology in combating loss and waste of fruits and vegetables.
Read more. What you can do: eat more fruits and veggies! Maybe even start growing some in your garden