Many, if not most of us, will celebrate Memorial Day and warmer weather with food, friendship and outdoor and indoor gatherings– often focused on grilling meat, barbecuing ribs or certainly burgers—as we honor our Nation’s veterans.
It is a tradition in the United States to make meat part of the celebratory events—but maybe it’s time we re-considered that tradition, in light of the attention being paid to its effect on our climate.
“Increasing focus on the impact of animal agriculture: the amount of land and food needed to raise cattle—and related deforestation is making this message more urgent, “said Sustainable Earth Eating CEO Jane DeMarines. There are waves of research and information that puts livestock production as a very large culprit in global climate change impact and data.”
The U.S. ranks as the world’s biggest meat eaters, per capita of any country on earth, DeMarines said.
But recently, more emphasis is showing up that if not thwarting meat consumption, especially red meat because of the climate impacts, tries to create awareness of concerns about saturated fat in meat and the impacts on health.
Groups started to message: U.S. far below Europe in awareness of meat/climate
Groups such as Sustainable Earth Eating were created with this intent: to help create awareness that animal agriculture, livestock production and consumption does a great deal of harm to the environment. “Awareness in the United States is far below awareness in Europe: 10% in the United States, compared to 30% awareness of climate impacts from meat production and consumption in Europe. We are just very far behind in getting this message out,” DeMarines said.
Food and atmospheric scientists at the Univ of Illinois in Chicago have done research distributed at United Nations climate conferences on animal agriculture’s role in climate change, counting it as contributing 56% of all greenhouse gas emissions attributable to food. (The food sector represents one third of global greenhouse gas emissions.) A large part of that is due to methane release by cows and other livestock, which is 8 times heavier and more destructive to air quality in our environment than CO2 emissions, DeMarines said.
Cars are not the greatest threat to climate
The common perception is that cars and other vehicles are the major culprit in climate change— while they contribute—people eating meat every day–sometimes for 3 meals a day– that has a massive impact on the climate, according to data from the University of Illinois report.
In fact, if people in the United States gave up eating meat, just one day per week for one year, that would have the same effect as taking 25 million gas guzzling cars off the road.
DeMarines said, “So this Memorial Day as we celebrate our Veterans who served to save our country’s freedoms, let’s think of ways to serve and save earth. Remember there is no planet B.”
Eat Smart to Save the Planet!
About Sustainable Earth Eating
Sustainable Earth Eating is a nonprofit organization that engages in outreach, advocacy, and educational initiatives to provide accurate information on the outsized contribution of animal agriculture to climate change.