Interesting Article (esp for us non-vegans)
I listen to Doreen Virtue on Hay House Radio each week. Her son does a "green" article each week and this week it was on the impact of having one meat free day a week. After reading this I am willing to give it a try:
According to the USDA the average American consumed 227 pounds of meat in 2007. When you take into consideration the prevalence of Vegetarians in todays society the quantity per meat eater raises even higher. While we realize that eating meat is a personal choice and vegetarianism may not be for everyone, consider the advantages to both your personal health and the environment of skipping all meat for just one day of the week.
For every pound of beef produced upwards of 2,500 gallons of water is used, 36 pounds of CO2 are emitted, several pounds of grain and hundreds of pounds of hay consumed. Beef is also a major contributer of methane released into the atmosphere. This is all combined with the runoff that the typical farm produces, the machinery that is built, purchased, and retired and the massive amount of transportation that is involved with beef production. The pork and the poultry industries are not quite as wasteful as the beef industry, but they too use an unbalanced amount of resources per pound.
The average family of four eating the average amount of meat will consume roughly two and a half pounds of meat per day, or nine hundred and twelve pounds per year. This 912 pounds of meat will produce approximately 50,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, and consume a staggering 2,280,000 gallons of water. We can do some rough estimations based on the population of the United States and come up with 68 billion pounds of meat eaten, 2 trillion pounds of CO2 and 170 trillion gallons of water used. Now because of the way averages work and because I am using some pretty course estimates these numbers may not be entirely accurate, but they are not out of the park either.
The effect of this much meat on a persons health is quite acute as well. The average one pound cut of beef has about 150% of your daily dose of fat, 200% of saturated fat, and 150% of suggested cholesterol intake. The method in which it is cooked, especially barbecuing and frying, can compound the health risk. The amount of potential heart and digestive diseases that this sort of diet can produce is quite dreadful.
Now let's take that hypothetical family of four and have them give up meat one day a week for a year. Those fifty two days would see them consuming 130 pounds less meat, which equates to a savings of 4,680 pounds of CO2 and a whopping 325,000 gallons of water. And that is just one family, on just one day for just one year. Imagine if they took the weekend off from meat, there's close to 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide saved. Let's also imagine that the entire state of Rhode Island decided to take one day off of meat for a year, that would mean they consumed 40 million pounds less than the average, and save 1.4 billion pounds of CO2 and 100 billion gallons of water.
When talking about return on investment few things in your daily life can bring about as much change as your diet. No one expects you to become completely meat free unless it is something you decide for yourself, but taking just one day off a week can provide immense benefits not only for your own personal health but for the entire world for generations to come.