You are such a socially conscious person.
You probably limit your plastic use, turn off the lights when you’re not in the room, and share videos of cute turtles choking on pieces of plastic to show your followers that you are an aware global citizen. But hey, have you considered, maybe, just perhaps, eating less meat?
Your worst fears have been confirmed. I’m vegan.
Before you deem me a tree-hugging lunatic and defend yourself by advocating for the “feelings” of plants, hear me out. I’m not here to turn my nose up and deem you the human embodiment of Lucifer for eating meat. I don’t care if you go vegan or not.
Wait, what? Let’s face it, most of you won’t become vegan. Meat tastes really good, is a staple in cultures, and most people don’t have the willpower to quit cold-turkey. You may be wondering why I am taking time to write this at all, well, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, livestock contributes 24% of the world’s greenhouse gases, 10% more than transportation.
It’s odd how we applaud people for recycling, driving a Tesla, or composting, but are quick to defend our habits when they involve eating. Perhaps that’s why we are critical— habits. They’re hard to change. Unlike a new car, you can’t replace your every day at one go. Remember: I am not here to tell you to call you an animal killer for eating meat. A world-wide veganism movement is not gonna happen. I need to to start targeting the true murderer: methane.
We often hear about the dangers of carbon dioxide, while ignoring the elephant, or rather, raging bull, in the room. Think of carbon dioxide as a dripping tap; methane is a fire hose. It can, and will, kill us.
According to The Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations (FDAGUN), cows produce 44.1% of the global methane emissions. Also, National Geographic states that methane is 28 times stronger than carbon dioxide. It excels at trapping the heat that will, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, cause damage so detrimental that in 12 years, we’ll reach a point of no return.
Don’t worry, though. While it is true that beef yields 295kg of greenhouse gasses for every kg of protein, chicken eggs only produce 35kg and pork, 55kg. Alternatives really are not all that bad, and it is completely fine to continue eating them. However, we need to stop treating beef as an every-day protein.
At this point, you may be trying to think of an excuse for eating methane-pumping meat. Here are some reassuring statements:
- Making Mondays meatless won’t make that day any worse.
- Ordering the vegetarian option does not make you seem “extra.”
- Ordering the vegetarian option does not make you seem less manly.
- Lamb and salmon are just as classy as your filet mignon.
Maybe you’re afraid of change or failure, but don’t stick with something and defend it so strongly just because it’s what you’re used to. I get it, our traditions are like children; we believe they’re in the right because we are so used to them. But like children, they can be wrong. They make mistakes, but that’s okay. We all do. Whatever the reason: insecurity, pride, or ego, don’t let it kill you— literally. Our food has always seemed innocent; the forbidden apple sure did.
Do you really want “too stubborn to change a simple, learned behaviour” be yet another item on the list of why our planet continues to heat up?
I don’t think so.
Do something. Anything. If you don’t, soon, we’ll be the main ingredient in the world’s next BBQ.
Just some food for thought.
Winston J Craig, Health effects of vegan diets, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 89, Issue 5, May 2009, Pages 1627S–1633S, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736N
“Livestock Solutions for Climate Change.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, http://www.fao.org/3/a-i8098e.pdf
“Overview of Greenhouse Gases” United States Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases
“Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 C” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, The United Nations, https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/summary-for-policy-makers/
Van Ringen, Jordine. “Cows, Netherland.” National Geographic, National Geographic, Sept. 23 2010, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/2010/9/cows-netherlands/