Food For Thought: Eating Our Way to Sustainability

We have written before about the effects that livestock has on the environment. The industry accounts for the highest share of greenhouse gas emissions, (18 percent), causes deforestation, soil erosion and pollutes waterways.

Several think-tanks have provided data that shows that unless we reduce livestock, we will be in trouble. The World Preservation Foundation recently published a paper in the International Journal of Climate Change, outlining how steep reductions in livestock production will be the single most effective way to slow global warming in the next two decades by at least 2C.

“Not only is livestock shown to be a quick-fix, the paper also highlights the work of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency that looked at long-term climate fix – the cost of mitigating global warming. It works out that returning the world’s pastures (a quarter of the land surface) to grow trees, woodland and native perennial grasses, will soak up at least 20 years of carbon emissions,” WPF said.

This approach comes with a lower price tag, or just 20 percent of the cost of other alternatives. The proposal was presented at MIT’s CoLab under the title: The Planet Or Your Plate: mitigate climate change by going meatless. The basic premise is that education through initiatives such as Meat-Free Mondays and Brighter Green, which require no government financing and consensus, can go a long way in slowing down climate change if adopted on a mass scale.

The pro-vegetarian argument keeps flowing into the media. Recently, experts gathered at the World Water Conference said that water scarcity requires humanity to go vegetarian. The release was picked up by media outlets all over the world.

There are several online resources to help people eliminate meat from their menu, including Mercy For Animals' vegan starter kit, Vegan Outreach and Ellen DeGeneres' vegan page.

Image credit: WPF