I can’t tell which topic got more attention this weekend on Facebook, John Lennon’s birthday or the report from the National Academy of Sciences that suggested that excessive consumption of meat products might be bad for the planet. Of course, this (the meat story) isn’t news for health food advocates, permaculture bloggers, or those environmental “crazies,” many of whom have been saying this for years!
But now we have a NAS report, Forecasting potential global environmental costs of livestock production 2000-2050 which states, “by 2050, the livestock sector alone may either occupy the majority of, or significantly overshoot, recently published estimates of humanity’s ‘safe operating space’ when it comes to climate change, reactive nitrogen mobilization, and appropriation of plant biomass.”
- Climate change – yup, lots of cows add carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere
- Nitrogen mobilization – that means more runoff of a highly mobile fertilizer element into rivers and streams
- Appropriation of plant biomass – that means we are feeding cows rather than people
Of course, we all know that excessive consumption of red meat contributes to poor human health as well. So it seems that excessive meat consumption isn’t so good for human health or planetary health. Hmmmmmmm……
I wonder what we should do about this?
Well, the report suggests producing animals more efficiently might help – but will not be enough. This scientific body claims that “across the board reductions in per capita consumption of livestock products should … be a policy priority.” Further, the paper calculated cuts in average per capita meat consumption of 19-42 percent will be required by 2050, just to stay even and avoid increasing the rate of environmental damage we experience today.
Tell your friends now…….there is NOTHING you can do that would have a greater impact on both personal and planetary health than reducing your consumption of meat!
How about it? Are you willing to save your life and the planet too? Why not join former President Clinton and Paul McCartney and pledge to the Meat Free Monday campaign. Better yet, if you must eat meat…… make sure it is from a local farm and grass fed.