Something I have noticed over these years as another human being, just doing my thing, is that people are very passionate – perhaps a little aggressive – about meat. As soon as you even hint that it maybe, might be a good idea to eat a little less meat, people get defensive.
It’s like what happened with the nut ban at school – suddenly, everyone’s life depends on them being able to eat peanuts while at school despite other people’s severe allergies. People who I’ve never seen even walk near the peanut butter at school were suddenly ready to make big red signs and march around the dining hall.
So, please just hear me out before deciding that you will never give up meat because that was me about two months back.
First note this: my following suggestions about protein intake don’t apply to people with medical conditions affecting their protein levels or muscle mass, athletes especially during their season, or people needing to gain muscle mass.
Now, I’m not asking you to go vegan or give up chocolate – I’m just requesting that we all try to avoid eating meat at lunch.
My first reason that I will discuss in this post is that the meat industry is horrible for the environment.
Growing some corn and growing a cow are two very different things.
No, climate change is not a myth created by certain companies who want to get rich (I mean, that idea doesn’t even make sense!) – it’s a real thing and everyone’s carbon footprint contributes to this phenomena. And, a lot of that ties back to what we eat – specifically, meat. No matter how the meat is made – whether it’s organic or with humane animal treatment – mass meat production takes up space and resources. The main meat with this detrimental effect is beef.
Cows need tons of water, grain, land, and produce lots of carbon dioxide in the process.
Don’t go off about how making vegetables takes up space and resources, too, as a way to get out of doing this. Of course they do, but growing some corn and growing a cow are two very different things. In fact, many cows are fed various forms of corn in place of their natural grass diet so it actually affects the environment in both those ways!
“When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases,” writes Damian Carrington of The Guardian.
Buying meat from grass-fed cows … well, that would be weird because cows shouldn’t be selling anything at all – but, purchasing meat that was taken from a grass-fed cow does have a reduced impact on the environment. However, it’s still tremendous in comparison with other animals and products.
I’m not saying that people should stop eating meat all together. The meat industry benefits a lot of people across the world – providing a source of income and labor. However, it’s possible to allow others to reap these benefits while cutting back on meat consumption in order to help the environment.
The diets of most Americans are already overflowing with protein so, for many, this choice to skip eating meat for one meal, has no real negative impact.
Imagine how much meat the school buys to feed the Middle and Upper School. Each time someone purchases food, especially in large quantities, they’re essentially voting and providing those companies with the knowledge that people are buying their food and that they should continue or increase production.
If even 500 students consistently replaced the meat on their plate with something better for the environment, that will prompt the school to purchase less meat and that message translates back to the meat producers.
One cow, one chicken, one pig, one animal can make a difference in the health of this strange little planet and that seems worth limiting our meat intake to once or twice a day.
Don’t knock it (down, like how you’d be knocking down this planet by contributing to climate change) until you try it!
For more information/background about some other reasons that I’m going to explore in my next post for switching to veggies for at least one meal a day, check out the documentary Food Inc.