Food & environment links


To feed 4 billion more, skip meat, milk and eggs, study says

Shifting crops grown for animal feed and biofuel to food for direct human consumption can feed an additional 4 billion people with existing cropland, a study says.

Your Meat-Eating Habit Is Killing More Than Just Cows

In a new report, a team from Florida International University cited the land degradation, pollution, and deforestation caused by rising global demand for meat as “likely the leading cause of modern species extinctions,” and the problem is only expected to get worse.


From vegan beef to fishless filets: meat substitutes are on the rise

“Meat alternatives put significantly fewer demands on the planet and are increasingly popular, but globally, meat consumption is still set to grow.”


The world eats cheap bacon at the expense of North Carolina’s rural poor

“There is little denying that whatever the impact of the hog lagoons, it is poorer rural communities of color that bear the effects the most. Almost all of the plaintiffs in the nuisance lawsuits are black Americans. A study released last year by UNCCH found that black North Carolinians were one and a half times as likely to live within three miles of an industrial hog operation as white residents. American Indians were twice as likely and Hispanic residents were 1.39 times as likely to live near these facilities in North Carolina. “This spatial pattern is generally recognized as environmental racism,” the study’s authors concluded.”


If you really care about climate change you’ll stop eating burgers

“Give up meat, save the planet. It really could be that simple, as new research warns that without radical changes to our diets, the food industry alone is likely to cause an 80 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, exceeding the current emissions targets for the entirety of the global economy.”


UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet

Lesser consumption of animal products is necessary to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change, UN report says

“A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today. As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.”


Vegetarian diets produce fewer greenhouse gases and increase longevity, say new studies

“Consuming a plant-based diet results in a more sustainable environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, while improving longevity, according to new research from Loma Linda University Health.”


Why Meatless?

“The water needs of livestock are much greater than those of vegetables and grains.

– Approximately 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef.
– Approximately 39 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of vegetables.[15]

Americans consume nearly four times the amount of animal protein than the global average.[16] When compared with current food intake in the US, a vegetarian diet could reduce water consumption by up to 58% per person.[17]”


What You Eat Matters: Eat Less Meat + Cheese and Buy Greener When You Do

“Different meats and different production systems have varying health, climate and other environmental impacts. Lamb, beef, cheese, pork and farmed salmon generate the most greenhouse gases. With the exception of salmon, they also tend to have the worst environmental impacts, because producing them requires the most resources – mainly chemical fertilizer, feed, fuel, pesticides and water – and pound for pound, they generate more polluting manure.”


How much your meat addiction is hurting the planet

“The environment doesn’t appreciate our meat obsession. The average meat-eater in the U.S. is responsible for almost twice as much global warming as the average vegetarian, and close to three times that of the average vegan, according to a study (pdf) published this month in the journal Climatic Change.”


5 Tips to Make Your Fourth of July Sustainable

“Livestock accounts for 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions with cattle-raising alone contributing 65 percent of the livestock sector’s GHGs. Our meat addiction also has environmental and social effects across borders as tropical forests continue to be cleared to meet increasing demands.”


Why I’m a weekday vegetarian

“We all know the arguments that being vegetarian is better for the environment and for the animals — but in a carnivorous culture, it can be hard to make the change. Graham Hill has a powerful, pragmatic suggestion: Be a weekday veg.


How Many Wolves Died for Your Hamburger?

“When you bite into a hamburger or steak, you already know the cost to the cow, but what about the wolves, coyotes, bears and other wildlife that were killed in getting that meat to your plate? There are a lot of ways that meat production hurts wildlife, from habitat taken over by feed crops to rivers polluted by manure to climate change caused by methane emissions. But perhaps the most shocking is the number of wild animals, including endangered species and other non-target animals, killed by a secretive government agency for the livestock industry. Last year Wildlife Services, an agency within the Department of Agriculture, killed more than 2 million native animals.”


Food Math 101

“In order to produce the Standard American Diet (SAD), heavily comprised of animal protein and dairy, it’s estimated that the equivalent of 2 football fields are required per person per year—with much of this allocated to growing the crops to feed the animals. If all 7 billion of us on the face of the earth were consuming the SAD, we would need at least two planet Earths to feed us all, and we only have one.”


San Francisco Subway Advertisements Urge Commuters to Ditch the Dairy to Save Water!

“California has been declared under a drought emergency! Residents are facing fines for watering their lawns, and they are being urged to conserve household water use whenever possible. But did you know that these methods of water conservation might only be making a dent in the state’s massive water problems? Turns out there is another thirsty culprit at play drinking up much needed water resources in the state. Yes, that’s right, it’s not the lawns, but the animals being raised for consumption in the state. “


Eating Less Meat Is World’s Best Chance For Timely Climate Change, Say Experts

“…replacing livestock products with meat alternatives would “have far more rapid effects on greenhouse gas emissions and their atmospheric concentrations — and thus on the rate the climate is warming — than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy… an effective strategy must involve replacing livestock products with better alternatives, rather than substituting one meat product with another that has a somewhat lower carbon footprint.””


The Green Book: Food (Duke Sustainability Office’s guide to green living on campus)

“Eat less meat

  • Raising cattle produces more greenhouse gases than all transportation sources combined
  • When you do eat meat, look for grass-fed and pasture-raised options from local farms”


How Meat Contributes to Global Warming

Most of us are aware that our cars, our coal-generated electric power and even our cement factories adversely affect the environment. Until recently, however, the foods we eat had gotten a pass in the discussion. Yet according to a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), our diets and, specifically, the meat in them cause more greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and the like to spew into the atmosphere than either transportation or industry.


Milk Life? How About Milk Destruction: The Shocking Truth About the Dairy Industry and the Environment

“Global water footprint of animal agriculture is 2,422 billion cubic meters of water (one-fourth of the total global water footprint), 19 percent of which is related to dairy cattle… When you add up the water used for food, water, and cleaning the facility the average dairy cow uses 4,954 gallons of water per day. When you multiply that to account for the 700 cows on a dairy factory farm that is 3.4 million gallons of water EVERY DAY. “

Water Conservation Tips

“That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy… On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet.”


This Monday, go meatless

“…it is quickly becoming common knowledge that eating meat is simply not sustainable… In terms of lifestyle changes, reducing meat consumption is even more commendable than driving a Prius, or riding your bike to work. It is an unfortunate fact about the current discourse around climate change that industrial agriculture is often left on the sidelines, but research clearly shows that human carbon emissions are closely linked with human meat consumption.”


Meat the hidden culprit of climate change

“No one who cares about the threat of climate change is ignorant of the importance of renewable energy and a reduction in energy use. So why do we still have our collective head in the sand about the need to change our diet?”


Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change are… cows, pigs and chickens?

“We believe that the life cycle and supply chain of domesticated animals raised for food have been vastly underestimated as a source of GHGs ([greenhouse gases], and in fact account for at least half of all human-caused GHGs. If this argument is right, it implies that replacing livestock products with better alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change.”


It May Take a Global Vegetarian Movement to Combat Climate Change

If we have any shot of reaching the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s global-warming mitigation goals, the world is going to have to start eating a lot less meat.”


Gluttony and Global Warming: We’re Eating Ourselves to a Warmer Planet

“We must radically alter our diets—by eliminating conventional animal products, ideally—to mitigate the Earth’s destruction. If we fail to do so, our legacy will be as a species that destroyed itself with its gluttonous palate.”


“…a person who regularly consumes a meat-heavy diet produces almost 250 percent more CO2 per day than someone eating a vegan diet.”