Right up front, I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t eat or enjoy meat. I’m not advocating lifestyles like vegetarianism or veganism. I’m just saying the West has a ravenous taste for meat, so much so it’s putting unsustainable demands on the environment and we need to eat less of it.
Our large appetite for meat puts a great strain on the environment with a knock-on effect that can be felt all over the world. Eric Davidson of the Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, advised that with great urgency we must cut back on both portion size and the quantity of meat we eat in an effort to reduce the amount of fertiliser we currently use – particularly in the West, but also in developing nations, where increasing prosperity has also brought a rise in meat consumption.
Fertilisers of course release nitrous oxide, one of the gases that cause climate change, and crops grown to feed animals produce more greenhouse gases than those used to feed humans. And this is before we have even addressed the gases released by animal manure – a highly toxic combination of fertilised feed, and all the antibiotics, vaccines and insecticides used to keep factory farmed animals “healthy”.
What can you do if you love meat? The answer is straightforward: eat less of it! Try not eating meat on Mondays and join me in Meat Free Mondays! You can also try to eat local, organic meat to cut down on the environmental impact (extra points if it’s free range too!). A few small lifestyle changes undertaken collectively can make a big difference in the world.