Cutting your meat intake fights climate change by reducing demand for factory farming, one of the worst greenhouse gas emitters.
Livestock farming is a major climate change driver: animal manure, and fertiliser to grow feed crops, emit huge amounts of greenhouse gas.
The nitrous oxide (NO2) given off from fertiliser has come under particular scrutiny lately: it's a potent greenhouse gas and agriculture is responsible for generating 80% of it. Most fertiliser is used for crops that become food for livestock, not for crops that are eaten directly by humans.
Eating less meat lowers the demand for factory farming and all its associated resource use and emissions, and it's better for human health and animal welfare too.
The latest consumer recommendation, from environmental scientist Eric Davidson of the Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, who has been studying NO2 emissions projections, is that meat eaters in the developed world should cut their meat intake by half in order to stabilise levels of the gas by 2050.
You don't have to give up meat entirely, but reducing portion size and frequency of meat meals is a good idea all round.
Start by following the popular trend for Meat-free Mondays, the worldwide campaign to skip meat at least one day a week. Food24 runs great vegetarian recipe ideas every Monday.
- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor, Health24, October 2012
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