Global warming has been discussed in the news for a very long time. The global world temperature and emissions in the atmosphere are continuing to rise. 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree that global warming and climate change is caused by humans. Some evidence for rapid climate change includes that the global temperature is rising, the ocean is getting warmer, ice sheets and glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising and extreme events are increasing in frequency. The impact of climate change is massive. If we don’t change our lifestyle quickly and fight global warming, we will have to deal with stronger hurricanes, more droughts and heat waves and changes in precipitation patterns. Especially the midwest will experience extreme heat, heavy downpours and flooding which will affect many parts of our lives.
Most of us are familiar with the fact that burning fossil fuels causes a big part of emissions which leads to global warming. Another part of our life with great significance is our diet, especially a meat-focused one. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about 15% of the global emissions are contributed by the livestock farming industry. The use of animals for meat causes twice the pollution of producing plant–based foods. Furthermore, industrial meat is the single biggest cause of deforestation globally. Rainforest gets burned down because the space is needed for cattle ranching or to grow industrial animal feed like soya. The meat industry also accounts for one quarter of the total use of freshwater worldwide.
WIth more and more people understanding that meat is not so good for the environment, there are also more people becoming vegetarian or vegan. In a vegan diet, there are no animal products like meat, fish, eggs and dairy products included. According to a study, 10% of U.S. adults identify as vegan or vegetarian. There is steady growth as well. From 2004 to 2019 the number of vegans in the U.S. has increased by 30 times. Plant-based food options also become more and more popular. For example, Burger King’s vegan burger was one of the most successful product launches in Burger King’s history. You may think that the vegan/vegetarian movement is still pretty small, but it is not only about vegans. Another big plant based company called “Beyond Meat” states that 70% of their vegan beyond burger patties are purchased by meat eaters. Furthermore, there are researchers working on developing lab-grown meat. There is the opportunity to take a cell sample from an animal and let it grow into animal tissue or meat in a laboratory. The Food and Drug Administration recently just cleared lab-grown meat for human consumption.
In my opinion, it is important to take climate change seriously and try to incorporate more sustainable habits into one’s own daily routine. Reducing meat consumption could be one part of that. I decided to not eat meat anymore in 2020. I also try to eat less of other animal products as well. I’m aware that meat plays a big role in the American diet and culture - especially in the Midwest. However, if we want to continue living on this planet I think that we have to alter our dietary habits at least a little bit. It is not about abolishing meat or going 100% meatless, but adjusting one's own lifestyle to a more sustainable world as much as possible.
Do you eat meat?
Have you ever tried vegan meat alternatives?
Do you think that we have to change our eating habits in the future?
Do you think that meat will become a luxury in the future?