Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to save the world, 20% at a time

We interrupt this glitter-and-coffee-fest to bring you the following:

I was all set to post another new painting this morning, when I saw this and needed to share it instead. I've written before about how I feel about how the choices you make at the grocery store can change the world; how I think everyone should pick up a copy of John Robbins' amazing book Food Revolution, because you will never eat the same way again ... but please read on, die-hard meat-eaters, and tell me this doesn't change your thinking a little bit:

From Mark Bittman's article in the New York Times:
Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word “raising” when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
20 percent - suppose you ate one more pasta dinner a week, hold the meatballs. Or had a pizza with just veggies instead of pepperoni. Or at breakfast, skip the bacon and sausage. If you knew that making a simple choice like what you were having for dinner could make that much of a difference, wouldn't you do it today?

Read the entire article here (it's free).

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