Letter to the Editor: Combating climate change  



To the Editor: 

Steak and hamburgers are delicious and staple meals in American diets. However, the negative environmental effects of a meat-heavy diet have never been more clear. “Producing a little more than 2 pounds of beef causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than driving a car for three hours,” according to PETA. An article by Lynne Curry, “Is the Movement to Eat Less Meat Actually Making a Difference,” states that reducing your red meat intake by as little as one hamburger per week would be the equivalent of taking 10 million cars off the road. Additionally, the land use to produce red meat is staggering. “According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institution, seven football fields’ worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them.” This is just one of many ways that animal agriculture deteriorates the health of our planet. 

There are multiple other problems that diets rich in meat create; soil, air and water pollution, ocean dead zones and methane emissions emerge from large-scale animal agriculture. These environmental problems may seem impossible to solve, but simply reducing your intake of red meat by a small amount can result in a beneficial impact on our local ecosystem and the wellbeing of the planet. Citing an article in the Seattle Times, “The average consumer will eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, surpassing a record set in 2004.” The U.S. is a leading consumer of meat products and this market is still growing. Changing this can make a difference in combating climate change. 

There are many great alternatives to eating meat in a meal. Becoming vegan and adopting a more plant-based diet have their upsides in reducing emissions from animal agriculture. However, fruits and vegetables that have to be imported can also leave a huge carbon footprint. It’s always best to shop local whenever possible to reduce the impact on transportation emissions. There are few solutions as simple as reducing your personal meat intake and adopting a more plant-based diet. This can produce great results for our planet.   

 

Gaia Daul, MDIHS sophomore 

Ruby Mahoney, MDIHS junior 

Juniper Spruill, MDIHS sophomore 

Interns at A Climate to Thrive (ACTT) 

 

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