There’s no doubt about it: climate change is real, and much of global warming is caused by human activity. It can be hard to convince people to take action against climate change. Many people don’t like to be told what to do, and value the cars they drive and the way they power their homes. Thankfully, changing the way we eat–even a little–can go a long way in helping to slow global warming.
The way we eat plays a key role in climate change. In the United States, about 80 billion pounds of food are discarded each year. This equates to about 40% of the nation’s total food supply.
Typically, this food waste ends up in landfills. As the waste breaks down, methane is released. Methane is a gas that has a greater effect on climate change than other gases that result from human activity (such as carbon dioxide). Food waste is responsible for 11% of the greenhouse gases in the world today.
Food waste isn’t the only food-related issue that contributes to the creation of greenhouse gases. About 40% of all greenhouse gases come from the meat industry. Deforestation, changes in the way that land is used, and the production of farm animals all result in greenhouse gases.
During the deforestation process, trees are cut down. This means that there are fewer plants available to change carbon dioxide back into oxygen. This carbon dioxide is then added to the atmosphere, resulting in climate change.
As animals graze grass while they’re being raised for processing, additional plants that typically change carbon dioxide into oxygen are destroyed. When farm animals digest food, they release methane, which, just like food waste, heavily contributes to climate change.
While all meat farming affects climate change, cattle farming has been shown to have a greater effect than other types of farming. Cows require a large amount of food to grow, and they produce methane at greater levels than other farm animals.
You don’t have to cut out all meat and other animal products in order to make a difference when it comes to climate change. Cutting down on your consumption of meat–even by going vegetarian one day a week–can go a long way in helping to stop climate change.
If you’d like to do your part to cut down on eating meat, it can be helpful to share your new delicious recipes with others. Doing so may encourage them to cut down on the amount of meat they eat as well. Sharing the changes you’re making on social media (in an encouraging way) can also be a smart option to get others on board with cutting down on meat to save the planet.