Monday, February 16, 2009

My Beef with Beef.

This morning I read a fascinating argument that because "hamburgers are the Hummers of food", beef and dairy are terrible for the environment . This was not the first time I had heard this, as both the best-selling nutrition book Skinny Bitch and my freshmen Environmental Science 101 class made the same argument.

We know that everything has "costs" to the environment- ie, scientists/economists can calculate not only the dollar-sign cost of a new laptop, they can calculate how much water was consumed to make it, or the damage done by the processes to make the plastic casing, or the contamination that the cadmium in the laptop will cause when it winds up in the landfill, etc.

Cows are simply very inefficient. For instance, if you eat a meal's worth of salad (lets say .5 pounds of greens), you will be full. But if you eat a meal's worth of beef (let's say a quarter-pounder hamburger), the cow might have had to eat 100 pounds of greens to produce that quarter-pound of meat.

The article states that almost 20% of the world's carbon emissions come from the livestock industry. Holy cow!! And beef is the worst of all the meats- a single kilogram of beef produces 16 kilograms of carbon dioxide, ten times more than that of chicken.

Plus, we eat way too much red meat in the first place. You're only supposed to eat 2 servings of protein each day, with a serving being 3 ounces.

As if we didn't already have enough reasons to skip red meat! Red meat is linked to higher rates of diseases including heart disease, atherosclerosis, breast cancer, colon cancer, Alzheimer's, arthritis, and endometriosis.


katie said...

opps: the roommates, ross and i went to roadhouse last night! it's time to go vegan now...maybe after i eat chicken & beef shishkabobs tonight! hehe but seriously

Amanda said...

another great reason that I don't eat beef! besides the fact that cows are terribly mistreated... they are also bad for the environment!