There’s a perception among some that meat eaters will always pick a meat-centered meal, when at a restaurant or other eatery, but that’s not always the case. Two studies suggest that adding some messaging and increasing the number of veg options, can make a big change when it comes to encouraging a meat eater to order a vegetarian meal. Simple changes to messages on restaurants’ menus can double the frequency of customers choosing plant-based options instead of meat, research on the impact of food on the climate crisis has found.
Meat consumption remains stubbornly high in the US—the average American gobbled down 264 pounds of meat in 2020—and is rising quickly in countries such as China. However, many people are receptive to the idea of switching to vegetarian options in order to help the environment, the research found, with messaging on restaurant menus a potentially significant way of shifting behavior.
Close the wet markets! Doctor Anthony Fauci says that there should be a global shut down of wet markets. Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and is considered by many to be the world’s top expert on infectious disease. He is a chief medical advisor on the president’s coronavirus taskforce.
Wet markets, common in China and other south Asian countries, sell live poultry, fish, reptiles, and mammals of every kind. Add the daily human contacts (including children) with the live animals, and conditions are optimal for the transfer of infectious disease agents that can make sick or even kill humans, as we explained last month. Read more
Professor Chris Dickman, of the University of Sydney, estimates the number of animals killed in the bushfires in the New South Wales region of Australia to be more than 800 million animals, with more than one billion animals impacted nationally. Many of the affected animals are likely to have been killed directly by the fires, with others succumbing later due to the depletion of food, shelter and habitat. Fire is a painful way for an animal to die. These poor animals are victims of global warming, and a prime driver of global warming is eating animal derived foods. Read more
The latest report has just been released, in what seems like a steady stream of scientific reports saying that cutting out meat is a powerful way to fight global warming.
The report from the Imperial College London says, “In countries with high per-capita meat consumption, like the UK, a shift towards plant-based diets would deliver up to around a 73 percent reduction in diet-related emissions compared to current levels and would require 70-80 percent less farmland.”
The report goes on to say, “Shifting to more sustainable diets, with reduced meat and dairy and more plant-based proteins and foods, offers a huge opportunity for consumers to reduce their personal carbon footprints with no additional cost and would also deliver large health benefits and … cost savings to society.”
The report gives, as an example, that a veggie burger produces only one tenth of the greenhouse gas emissions compared to a beef burger. With so many choices of veggie burgers to choose from these days, from traditional favorites like the Boca Burger or the Gardenburger, to the latest meaty alternatives, such as the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger, consumers have fewer and fewer excuses for choosing beef for dinner.
It’s a heart breaking problem. According to the UN 820 million people suffer from hunger. Starvation kills, and it hurts to have to go to bed malnourished and hungry. Hunger and malnutrition are some of the most serious problems facing humanity. Children are especially vulnerable. But there’s something we can do about it. Read more
The world needs to go on a greenhouse gas diet! A recent study from researchers at the University of Oxford found that ditching animal products could reduce your carbon footprint by 73 percent.
Get ready for this. The lead scientist of the study says, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”
That’s right! The food you eat is more important than the car you drive, the light bulbs you buy, the insulation in your house and all the other nonfood items you use.
Eating meat is crowding out the planet. In addition to greatly reducing your carbon footprint, researchers found that if everyone went vegan, global farmland use could be reduced by 75 percent. This would be an amount of land comparable to the size of the United States, China, Australia, and the whole Europe combined freed up.
Not only would this result in a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions, it would also free up wild land lost to agriculture, one of the primary causes for mass wildlife extinction.
The new study, published in the journal Science, is one of the most comprehensive analyses to date into the detrimental effects farming can have on the environment and included data on nearly 40,000 farms in 119 countries. The Oxford report comes on the heels of several other studies showing that raising livestock is a major factor of global warming. Let’s hope people are starting to take notice!
Americans are eating even more burgers, chicken fingers and bacon, and the trend could say a lot about our health, the environment and, of course, the farm animals.
American consumption of red meat and poultry per capita is forecast to hit 222.2 pounds per person in 2018, up from 216.9 pounds in 2017 and 210.2 pounds in 1998, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s the highest amount of meat consumption within the last 50 years. Production of both red meat and poultry will increase in 2018, at the same time the U.S. economy is growing and Americans have more money to spend on food. Read more
Is Arnold Schwarzenegger really going vegan? It looks like he is!
The action star, body builder, and former California governor has been dairy-free for at least 40 years, but lately, he’s been hearing from his doctors to lay off meat consumption for his health. Arnold says, “The more I went to my physical exams, the more doctors started stressing: “Arnold, you’ve got to get off meat,” so I’m slowly getting off meat, and I can tell you, I feel fantastic!” The former bodybuilder says he’s found that the best way to cut down is to have a couple of meat-free days a week and proceed from there.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger tells people they should eat less meat, you can imagine the reaction he gets, but he pushes back on that: “I have seen many body builders that are vegetarian and they get strong and healthy. Luckily, we know that you can get your protein source from many different ways – you can get it through vegetables if you are a vegetarian.” Take it from Arnold: “If they tell you to eat more meat to be strong—don’t buy it.”
Well known for his concern about environmental issues, especially global warming, Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron have teamed up, not for another installment of the Terminator series, but to combat climate change and highlight the ill effects of meat and dairy consumption on health. Schwarzenegger sums up his feelings on the subject when he says, “Less meat, less heat, more life.” Let’s hope that message reaches as many people as his movies did.
The world is eating too much meat, and that’s bad news for the earth’s forests, arable land, and scarce water. That’s the conclusion of a report released this week by the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute.
Global production of meat hit a new high of 308.5 million tons last year, up 1.4 percent, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the report says. “In response to growing purchasing power, urbanization, and changing diets, meat production has expanded more than fourfold over just the last fifty years says the new report, entitled “Peak Meat Production Strains Land and Water Resources.” Read more
It’s a diabetes disaster! Rapidly escalating levels of meat, poultry, fish and egg consumption have combined to give China the highest rates of diabetes in the world. Yes, their rate of this so called “western disease” is now even higher than ours.
The statistics are both startling and sobering. 12% of Chinese now have diabetes and 50% of Chinese now have pre-diabetes, technically known as metabolic syndrome, which means 114 million Chinese adults are diabetic and another 493 million are pre-diabetic, according to the latest study. ”Diabetes in China has become a catastrophe” said Paul Zimmet, president of the International Diabetes Federation.”
China’s levels of meat consumption doubled between 1990 and 2002. Today the average Chinese eats an astounding 215 pounds of meat, poultry, fish and eggs every year. Back in 1961, the Chinese consumed just a few pounds of animal products each year. Even as recently as 1980, they still following a mostly traditional, nearly vegetarian, diet, and the diabetes rate in China was only 1 percent. But consuming animal products, especially those high in saturated fats, can dramatically increase the risk of diabetes.
There’s a financial cost to all of this as well. The booming level of meat consumption in China has brought with it a medical problem which could bankrupt their health system. Covering all the new and emerging cases of diabetes will consume more than half of its annual healthcare budget.
And then there’s all the complications diabetes sufferers face. The researchers recently warned, in a Journal of the American Medical Association report, that China will also have to face “a major epidemic of diabetes-related complications” including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and chronic kidney disease, in the near future, without an effective national intervention.
Just as China has turned to western, meat-centered diets, it has also turned to western ways of handling the problem. China’s rising prevalence of diabetes has helped fuel a 20% per year growth in drug sales, stoking the need for medications from drug companies. China’s government is trying to fight the scourge by expanding basic medical coverage, buying medicines in bulk to lower costs, and conducting a corruption inquiry into international drug makers, including GlaxoSmithKline.
Yet the real solution to this epidemic, like so many others, is a vegetarian solution. Not only is a vegetarian diet powerful in preventing diabetes, but several studies now show it is also powerful in reversing it. Let’s hope the Chinese government realize this quickly, before the situation gets any worse.