How Eating a Steak Can Cause Global Warming


Have you ever thought about how your food choices affect the environment? We’re all aware of the benefits of recycling, driving hybrid cars, and packing our groceries in reusable bags, but have you ever given any thought to the food you eat and its environmental impact? If you haven’t, today is the day to understand what it means to consume different foods.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just released an assessment of the environmental impact of a variety of protein sources. When you eat a steak, it’s not as simple as butchering a cow to get it on to your dinner plate. The cow needs a place to live until it is slaughtered. This home requires running water which is powered by electricity. It needs farm workers which travel via car to the site. The cow needs to eat, which requires another farm to grow and ship the food. The cow then needs to be transported to a slaughterhouse to be butchered. During this whole process, the cow is eating and emitting methane gases through the digestive process.

Why is methane bad you ask? According to the EPA, methane is 20 times better at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. That translates to methane being much more effective at global warming. When there is large consumption of food that originates from methane producing animals, we are contributing to global warming. Since cows produce methane, the food products that have the largest carbon footprint are beef, lamb, and cheese.

Here are just some of the climatic savings that you can make by eating less meat:

  • Eat 1 less hamburger per week –> Taking your car off the road for 320 miles
  • 4 person family skips meat and cheese 1 day per week –> Taking your car off the road for 5 weeks
  • 4 person family skips steak 1 day per week –> Take your car off the road for 3 months
  • Everyone ate no meat and cheese 1 day per week –> Taking 7.6 million cars off the road or not driving 9.6 billion miles!!!!

Protein sources with the lowest carbon footprint are lentils, tomatoes, milk, and beans. To make a difference, all you have to do is replace a hamburger with a veggie burger 1 day a week or have beans in your taco instead of beef. It’s cost savings for you, and an environmental savings for everyone.

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