The more I read about how eating less red meat and dairy products saves the planet, the greater my conviction becomes. From an eco-friendly standpoint, eating fewer animal products, specifically of bovine origin (i.e., cattle), leads to using less fossil fuel to grow, transport and process feed for cattle. Recent research from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that if an average family substitutes chicken, fish or eggs for red meat and dairy products one day a week for a year – this would save greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to driving 760 miles! It gets better, using NO animal products for one day a week for a year reduces emissions equivalent to driving 1,160 miles!!
Although a locavore lifestyle – eating only locally grown foods, might seem environmentally superior, the Carnegie Mellon research found that food production can impact our carbon footprint more than how far food must travel to get from field to plate. In other words, making dietary shifts such as eating less red meat and dairy can equate to about the same greenhouse gas reduction as eating locally…!
To read the study in Environmental Science and Technology , go to http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag-w/2008/apr/science/ee_foodmiles.html.
Either way, whether you choose to eat fewer animal products or support your local farmers, your steps toward sustainability will not go unnoticed – for both yours and our planet’s health.
As always, I’d love your thoughts on this important topic…..