Published on September 3rd, 2012 | by andrea devon3
how to make an impact on climate change NOW!
Recently on NPR’s Marketplace, Mark Bittman- cookbook author and NYT food writer- talked about how reducing one’s meat consumption can make a drastic impact on climate change. Bittman is not a vegetarian, but he does eat a lot of vegetables… and little meat. He frames his argument as such: we all know that climate change is bad for our environment, and we can make a big impact by simply reducing our meat consumption. The reason: the UN Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that 20% of our greenhouse gases can be attributed to industrial animal agriculture- though some researchers claim that it might be as high as 50%.
I was excited after hearing this story, and interestingly enough, the Humankind show that followed featured Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change speaking about the very same subject- noting that we often overlook the impact of foods we eat. Dr. Pachauri asks us to think about the inputs, production, processing, storage, and shipping of animal foods and the energy impact you can have by eliminating just a small percentage of your consumption. You can hear a free except here, but you have to pay for the whole story.
What I liked about these stories is that both Bittman and Pachauri understand that people might not give up meat entirely, but they encourage people to learn about how industrial animal production is damaging to the animals, to our bodies, and to our planet. Industrial animal agriculture is not healthy for anyone, and only by surrendering some of our meat consumption will we begin to address human health problems and mitigate ecological damage. Check out this great article on Eat, Drink, Better about how shifting away from meat eating and industrial animal agriculture can help reduce our environmental impact significantly. And for a great video about a similar topic, see this TED video.
Find the Bittman article here on Marketplace: Worried about climate change? Eat less meat. | Marketplace.org.
And find Pachauri’s interview here on Humankind: Human Media: Our Food Footprint.