By Jaqueline B. Ramos
Recently I came across this article by The Economist, which stands a very important point: the great impact of our diet on the environment, specifically in the greenhouse gases emissions. And by diet the article means the habit of having steaks, beef and any other source of read meat daily and in large amounts in our plate.
In an industrial production perspective, which includes animal and feed production, deforestation and transportation, cattle are really large producers of greenhouse gases. There is enough evidence of it for years now, as I remind every time I cross with this kind of featured data.
Back in 2006, for instance, I wrote a booklet in Portuguese about the then recently released report Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Among many other information, this report attested that livestock were responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. Surprisingly, at least at the time (did not check this information now), this number was higher than the sum of the pollution caused by all the means of transportation on the planet. But I really believe there is no much of change, not to affirm numbers must be even higher, 16 years after.
It’s well known that sustainable standards for food mass production in a growing population world is, to say the least, a challenge. It implies a large list of social and environmental impacts that must be addressed.
On the conscious consumer side, which is literally everyone who has the privilege of choosing their diet, the solution could pass through: simply eat less meat; opt for strict plant-based meals; invest and rely on local and organic production; follow the intense research on the development of lab-grown meat.
There is no one right answer or a straight conclusion for this matter and it demands lots of constant research and data analysis. But fact is that every time you come to this kind of news stories, it’s worth the feeling of how important it should be for us all to reflect about what we eat.
Photo: Foto de Andrew Patrick – @andrewpatrick.photo