Meatless Monday, For the Planet

Did you know it takes 1,850 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat, but only 39 gallons to grow a pound of vegetables? Going meatless just one day a week can reduce your carbon footprint, saving resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, raising livestock produces more greenhouse gases than transportation globally.  Livestock produce CO2, one of the most common greenhouse gases, but are actually responsible for producing even more of other, more dangerous gases. Livestock raised for human use produce 65% of nitrous oxide and 37% of methane produced via human activity. According to the FAO, nitrous oxide possesses 296 times the Global Warming Potential of the more commonly known CO2, while methane is 23 times more warming than CO2.

The impact of livestock goes beyond the pollutants, though. The need for more grazing land for livestock has increased the clearing of forests and the FAO reports that 70% of former forest land in the Amazon has been cleared for livestock. Livestock also uses more resources. According to PETA, a cow consumes as much as 50 gallons of water per day and it takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of beef. It only takes 180 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat flour. Livestock occupy 70% of all agricultural land and 30% of the overall land surface of the planet, according to an FAO report. They also use 8% of the water consumed by human uses.

As we search for ways to counteract the effects of climate change, the focus has long been on reforestation and reduction of CO2 emissions. Encouraging a widespread switch to a vegetarian diet could be another key element in our fight against climate change. Reducing demand for meat would cut down on methane emissions much more easily than reducing CO2 emissions through other means.

Even a small reduction in your consumption of meat can make a difference. Try instituting a day each week where you don’t consumer any meat, like Meatless Mondays. Once one day becomes routine, increase it to two days, and before you know it you’ll be eating vegetarian more days than not. The planet will thank you for it.

And don’t forget to have fun! Don’t think of Meatless Monday as the day when you can’t eat meat. Instead, think of it as the day when you can explore new choices and celebrate yourself and the planet. Take today’s #30daysforearth challenge to go meatless, plus enter for a chance to win a $1,000 Bambeco gift card.