RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—A new National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report warns that people will have to cut back on meat consumption to help keep the world safe from planet-warming greenhouse gases, nitrate pollution, and habitat destruction. That’s because commercial livestock farming increases emissions of the greenhouse gases methane (produced by livestock, especially cattle) and carbon dioxide (thanks to deforestation). Also, farm fertilizers release the powerful greenhouse gas nitrous oxide when they’re applied to the soil. Both fertilizers and manure release nitrogen into natural systems such as rivers, upsetting their natural balance.
Though experts agree that eating vegetarian is better for the environment, they don’t always agree on just how far we need to go in eliminating meat from our diets. The researchers from Canada’s Dalhousie University who authored the NAS report have a strong opinion on this. They believe that if current trends continue, livestock farming alone would push the world to dangerous levels of climate change and habitat destruction by the middle of the 21st century. They believe per capita meat consumption will have to be cut by 19 to 42 percent by 2050 in order to stave off these dire results.
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And join Maria Rodale's discussion about the future of organic food, and why it's important to the future of all of us, on the Atlantic Monthly website.
Are you ready to make some diet changes? For health and environmental reasons, it certainly makes sense. Odds are, you'll save some money, too. Even if you're not ready to go completely vegetarian, or follow the Kind Diet every day, why not start by shooting for one or two meatless dinners every week? To make that easy, fill your fridge and cupboards with frozen, fresh, and canned vegetables, whole grains like bulgur and barley, whole grain pastas, and canned beans. With these staples on hand, you’ll be ready to enjoy great-tasting, good-for-you, good-for-the-planet dishes. Keep reading for some great suggestions.
Published on: October 21, 2010
Updated on: October 22, 2010