A Meatless Day Keeps Global Warming at Bay?
Want to save the planet? Take a day off from meat, suggests a world-renowned climate change expert.
In an interview last week with Britain’s The Observer, Rajendra Pachauri recommends one meatless day per week to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity,” says Pachauri in the Sept. 7 article.
Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, Pachauri argues that the world’s livestock is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a statistic echoed in a 2006 report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we like our meat here in USA. In its 2001-2002 Agriculture Factbook (the most recent one published), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) puts it this way: “America is a Nation of meat eaters.” Per capita total meat consumption (red meat, poultry, and fish) in 2000 was 195 pounds (boneless, trimmed-weight equivalent), “57 pounds above average annual consumption in the 1950s.”
More recent statistics indicate similar patterns: According to data compiled by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, total meat consumption was 199.9 pounds (16.1 of which was fish) in 2005. Translated, that’s slightly more than 1/2 pound per day.
As many of you know, I like my meat just fine, but these statistics are giving me cause for pause. Then there’s the 2005 CDC study to consider, which revealed that just 27 percent of Americans ate vegetables three or more times per day.
What do you think? Do you think Pachauri’s argument bears consideration? Should we start a “Meatless Monday” feature here in the blog space for encouragement and enlightenment? Talk to me, rabid carnivores and herby plant-eaters. I’m all ears.
By Kim ODonnel |
September 18, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
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