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Does Meat Consumption Affect Global Warming?

The issue of emission of greenhouse gases is still serious today. Conferences, meetings are held and warnings are made about carbon footprints in order to act on this issue. In some respects it is late, but there are various methods that can be applied both today and in the future. Walking, cycling, choosing public transportation vehicles, traveling with more than one person if individual vehicles are preferred, reducing plane travel, paying attention to the issue of energy efficiency in the home, not using unnecessary, many electronic products, turning to green, renewable energy by reducing the use of fossil fuels (such as wind, solar, geothermal, tidal energy), changing eating habits, preferring organic, local food, consuming as much food as needed, being careful about recycling, ensuring that organic wastes are disposed of, reusing things instead of unnecessary consumption, green areas increasing and protecting the environment, keeping the environment clean, raising awareness about the environment are among the steps to reduce the carbon footprint. Reducing meat consumption should also be among these steps.

Meat Consumption Causes Significant Amounts of Carbon Emissions

Everything we eat has an impact on global warming, but perhaps the biggest problem is livestock. One of the gases released into the atmosphere as a result of digestion in animals is methane gas. Fertilizer production also emits carbon dioxide. Fossil fuels are used in animal husbandry, which is a problem. The production of animal feed reduces forests, affecting the capacity to reduce greenhouse gases. In addition, wastes generated during animal husbandry pollute water and nature. The amount of water consumed while producing meat is also high. For example, producing 500 grams of red meat (cow meat) means consuming almost 7000 liters of water. This amount is 10 times the amount required for rice and wheat production. Natural and environmental resources and energy consumed during meat production (animal husbandry) cause significant carbon emissions (greenhouse gas emissions) (at least 15%). The rate of oscillation is higher than caused by land and air traffic. Red meats such as beef and veal are the leading ones that make this release. Those who follow red meat are canned tuna and farmed salmon. Experts say the carbon footprint can be reduced by reducing meat consumption and focusing on a diet with vegetables.

Meat Consumption Should Be Reduced

Meat has earned a reputation as an environmentally damaging food, as beef production emits 20 times more greenhouse gases than beans production for the same amount of protein. It would be really beneficial for both the climate and human health if people in many rich countries consume less meat and politics create appropriate incentives in this direction. According to a recent report by the United Nations body on climate science, people can help stop the devastating effects of climate change by significantly changing the way they grow and produce as well as the food they eat. People not only need to reduce the amount of land used to produce meat, but also use that land more efficiently. Sustainable farming practices are necessary to keep land usable while the planet warms. This is particularly important because the report raises serious concerns about how climate change will damage food security. According to the report, some regions of Africa, the high mountain regions of Asia and South America are already experiencing these problems. The researchers point out that the countries most likely to be most affected by climate change are often low-income places that contribute to global warming. Farmers in these places will have to adapt to more intense weather conditions, droughts, floods and soil fertility decline. If the meat consumption is reduced, the fight against famine will be successful. FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization) data show that 83% of agricultural land is used for animal husbandry worldwide. However, only 18% of the energy needed is met by meat consumption in humans. Animal feed is obtained with more than 80% of the corn and oats produced. Farm animals consume feed equivalent to the calories required for almost 8.7 billion people worldwide.

Being a Vegetarian Can Help

What we eat matters. This is necessary not only for ourselves and the planet, but for the future of young people and their right to live on this planet. Many people eat more red and processed meat than they need. The International Center for Cancer Research classified processed meat and red meat as possible carcinogens in a report published in 2015. Again, another study conducted in the USA that year revealed a link between kidney cancer and cooked meat. WHO (World Health Organization) states that meat consumption should be limited to only 500 grams per week. Some research reports suggest that those who consume large amounts of meat should consider a more flexible diet. This diet consists largely of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and unsaturated fats. Scientific findings suggest that removing meat from the diet could halve per capita greenhouse gas emissions associated with eating habits worldwide and also prevent deforestation.

Being a vegetarian can cut per capita emissions in half. According to some studies, switching to vegetarianism by a single person living in developed countries with high meat consumption decreases the greenhouse gas emission per person by 10%. According to Cambridge University experts, a 10% reduction means that about 8 million vehicles in the UK will withdraw from traffic. However, vegetarianism should not be limited to a single day. It is estimated that reducing excessive consumption of red meat (especially beef and lamb) will lead to a 15 to 35 percent reduction in per capita GHG emissions associated with food and land use by 2050.

Meat is not the only culprit

Families with higher carbon footprint are likely to consume more sweets, alcohol, and restaurant food, according to a new study by Japanese and European researchers. The study showed that meat consumption can explain less than 10 percent of the difference in carbon footprints seen among Japanese families. Researchers have found that consumption of sweets, alcohol, and restaurant food contributes to families’ footprints at a greater capacity than other foods. Households with higher eating out contribute an average of 770 kg per year to greenhouse gas, while meat only contributes 280 kg. If serious consideration is given to reducing carbon footprints, diets must change. While high carbon footprints are not just a problem for meat lovers, eating less meat can be a good choice because meat is a food with a high carbon footprint. Replacing red meat consumption with poultry and vegetables will lower a family’s carbon footprint.

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