Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. Genesis 1 :29
There is a lot of talk about the need to move away from a meat heavy diet to a more plant based diet. Why is this important?
Animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to Green House gases after fossil fuels. It is also a leading cause of deforestation , as well as water and air pollution and is leading to biodiversity loss
Animal agriculture puts a heavy strain on the Earth’s overstretched resources. There are 70 billion domestic animals raised every year for human consumption. To do this we are using one third of the planet’s ice-free land surface. Nearly 16 percent of our scarce global freshwater is used to grow livestock. As well as that a third of the production of grain worldwide is used to feed livestock.
Unfortunately we are still on an upward trajectory and consumption of meat and dairy products is expected to rise 75% by 2050, due to population growth and an increase in consumption per capita.
Cattle are by far the biggest source of emissions from animal agriculture. Producing animal meat is a very inefficient use of resources. It can take up to 10 kg of grain to make 1 Kg of beef.
A study has shown that if the average UK household halved its meat consumption, this would cut more emissions that if they cut their car use in half! (Compassion in World Farming)
Eating less meat can help slow deforestation. One hectare of Amazon rainforest is lost to cattle ranchers every 18 seconds. In the largest meat-producing state in Brazil livestock production is responsible for vastly more deforestation than soya.
In November 2007 the World Cancer Research Fund called for a diet low in red meat, avoidance of processed meats and eating a mainly plant-based diet.
So, this Lent, take the pledge to reduce your meat consumption and eat more plant based meals
Start from where you are: maybe take on Meat Free Mondays, or go vegetarian during the week, or give up red meat and only eat chicken. Or perhaps you want to take the plunge and become fully vegetarian or even vegan. As long as you are reducing your meat intake, you are helping the planet and your health!