The Meat of the Problem
The diet of today’s society tends to hold meat at its center, as it provides an excellent source of protein and flavour. I’ll be honest, even I enjoy a hamburger from time to time; however, the habit of having meat featured in every meal of the day is environmentally unsustainable.
From industrialized farms to the grocery stores, the whole meat-processing industry leaves a detrimental impact on climate change. Starting with the feeding lots, millions of livestock are often crammed into acres of land, with hardly any room to move. These dense animal populations in mega-farms account for around 37% of all methane emissions each year.
Furthermore, the amount of carbon dioxide released in their transport to slaughterhouses and grocery stores accounts for about 9% of the world’s total CO2 emissions.
When all of these factors are combined, the meat industry alone accounts for around 1.1 PPM rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (or CO2 equivalent) each year, out of the total ~2 PPM rise. So what does this all mean?
If our society could adapt to a more vegetarian-like diet, it would be enough to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions, and slow down the effects of climate change.