So let’s start with meat. Raising livestock for slaughter is, of course, not particularly good for the planet. Animals demand lots of food and water: A single cow might consume 11,000 gallons of water a year. And that cow burps up methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
But going vegetarian isn’t quite the answer
Switching humans to an entirely plant-based diet would solve some of these problems, but not all of them. For one, clearing forests and peatlands–essentially sparser forests laid on a bed of slowing rotting organic matter–to make way for agricultural land destroys essential carbon sinks. Healthy forests sequester CO2 during photosynthesis and store it. In the case of mucky peatlands, they can sequester carbon for perhaps thousands of years.
I also recently listened to a Running for Real podcast with Clare Gallagher where they suggested instead of saving the purchase a Tesla to save the environment, we should skip meat one night a week.
Nothing I’ve heard feels like the right answer end to end. At this house the plan is to grow a bit more of our own food next year and cut do a vegetarian meal a few nights a week. We already don’t eat much beef because one of our kid’s is allergic, so we’re decentish on that front.
If anyone has a good all around solution they’ve heard about, I’d love to hear about it too.