The Problems on Our Plates

British researchers confirm that too much meat in our diet is leading to climate catastrophe.

British researchers are suggesting that those of us in the world’s developed nations limit our weekly intake of meat to only four modest portions—and milk to just one liter—if we are to avoid "runaway" climate change. A new report from the UK-based Food Climate Research Network concludes that humans" increasing demand for livestock and other food items—especially "low nutritional value" treats such as alcohol, sweets and chocolates—is exacerbating global warming worldwide.

The report found that the food sector in the UK generates about one-fifth of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The UK’s meat and dairy sector accounts for just over half of those emissions, while potatoes, fruits and vegetables account for 15 percent. Drinks and other sugary products account for another 15 percent, with bread, pastry and flour accounting for 13 percent. Researchers said that if enough of us reduce the amount of meat we eat, the emissions savings could be substantial.

Beyond a straight assessment of how the food economy is affecting climate change, though, the report also makes recommendations for how consumers can do their part on an individual basis to lower their food-related carbon footprints. Some of the key tips are to buy local, in-season produce, cook in bulk and in pots with lids or pressure cookers, avoid waste, and walk to food shops and farmers" markets. The report also recommends using the microwave more than the oven—it uses far less energy overall—and also shopping via the Internet, which saves fuel since deliveries are centralized and not everyone is driving their own vehicle to the store.

Source: The Guardian