Our current level of meat consumption is harmful to the environment in several ways. Raising livestock uses more land and water than growing beans, grains and vegetables. It takes many pounds of grains or other animal feed to be converted into a pound of meat, which is an inefficient use of resources. A big issue is that raising livestock results in an enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions.  Globally, the UN estimates that emissions from livestock farming, including carbon dioxide and methane, make up more than 14% of all man-made greenhouse gases. The rising concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leads to warmer global temperatures, more extreme weather events, and both droughts and floods, all of which threaten our health and global food supply.
We don’t need everyone to become a vegetarian or vegan to make a difference. For example, if everyone in the US decreased their meat consumption by 25%, that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 80 million metric tons and free up 23 million acres of land, which would have important benefits for mitigating the effects of climate change and feeding a growing global population. And in addition to the environmental impact, people also find plant-based diets attractive due to health benefits and cost, as well as concerns over animal welfare. See footnotes 3, 4, 6.
Join us in making a commitment over Lent to eat “greener” by reducing your own meat consumption!