Here a Moo, There a Carrot

Ever noticed how people tend to go green only when it benefits their own bottom line? Think about all the money saved by switching to CFLs, grouping errand runs, replacing old windows, and a myriad of other cost- and environment-saving ideas.

At one of my favorite grocery stores, they give you a credit for each reusable grocery bag you fill up rather than one of theirs. Our parish has a recycling bin next to the trash can (granted this doesn’t save the church any money but it looks responsible). There’s even the Cash for Clunkers program designed to get inefficient cars off the road.

There’s one place that no one goes when talking about climate change – eating meat. Nobody touches the subject. Like it’s a sacred cow or something. But I read something both interesting and disturbing the other day. According to a 2006 United Nations report, raising livestock produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars.

Chew on this for a minute: Consider how much energy is involved in growing the food that is fed to the animals long enough for them to become large enough for slaughter to feed you and me. (Yes, I’m an omnivore. Nothing better than a rare to medium-rare filet.) On top of the energy used to rear animals, there’s also the poop that leaches nitrous oxide into the air and streams. Don’t forget about the methane that they emit.

Carnegie Mellon University found that the average American would do less for the planet by switching to a totally local diet than by going vegetarian one day a week. Just one! That’s like have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, some fruit or carrot sticks for a snack, veggie lasagna for lunch, a handful of nuts in the afternoon, a plate of baked beans, corn pudding, and creamed spinach for supper, and some popcorn for a late snack.

When you look at it in terms other than micro economics, you’ll be saving more than money. Meat costs more than vegetables. It also adds more calories to your diet. Save money while cutting calories while helping the environment. All by just going vegetarian once a week.

So if my family eats all veggies once a week, can I keep my gas-guzzling SUV?

1 comment:

  1. Didn't Oprah say something like this a few years ago and ended up in court out in Lubbock with the beef growers? Ha!

    I got tickled a coupla weeks ago visiting with an elderly friend who has, she said, become a vegetarian due to the high cost of meat. And then, as we sat down to a dinner of collards, beans, and cornbread (mmmmm!) I noticed hamhocks in the greens, bacon in the beans, and a goodness in the cornbread that only bacon grease can bring. When I asked about all the meat she was shocked at the question. Turns out hamhocks and bacon are not meat in her book - they're "seasonings."