Eat Green: The Impact of Food on the Environment
Learn About the Impact of Food Production on the Environment
The typical American diet is infamous for its focus on fried foods, fatty entrees, and high-sugar and salt content.
Anyone who’s ever attempted to lose a few pounds is aware that the typical diet can balloon waistlines and leave skin looking drab and dull; but, did you know that our average menu is also taking its toll on the environment?
The main culprit to an earth-friendly meal plan is the traditional staple of Sunday suppers across the country: meat. Specifically—and surprisingly—pork is a worse offender than beef, which has long been touted as an environmentally un-friendly ingredient.
We weren’t the first to wonder why pork, beef, and other livestock are such a burden on the environment. After all, isn’t meat a natural byproduct of our world?
Turns out the overall cost to raise livestock such as cows, pigs, and sheep are becoming a drain on the earth’s resources and tax payer dollars.
Consider these surprising statistics:
149 million acres
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that’s how much cropland it takes to raise our nation’s livestock, which contribute to the 208 pounds of meat eaten in America on average every year. Add to that number the 167 million pounds of pesticide and 17 billion pounds of fertilizer necessary to subsidize this much livestock.
500 Million Tons of Manure
Manure is a natural byproduct of our nation’s livestock digestion, but the nitrous dioxide and methane produced from 500 million tons of manure—more than three times the amount of human waste in America–is also the source of toxic amounts of air and water pollution.
The number of animal processing plants that consistently rank in the nation’s top 20 industrial polluters. These 8 slaughterhouses are responsible for 30 million pounds of contaminants in 2009 alone.
20% of Meat Ends Up in Landfills
Since almost a quarter of the meat produced ends up in garbage heaps anyway, doesn’t the overall production cost to taxpayers and the environment make you think twice about contributing to this earth-shocking industry?
Are you making changes to your diet to support the environment and your overall health? If so, we’d love to know what new alternatives you’ve found to the typical meat-based menu plan. Let us know on our Pinterest or Facebook pages or tweet us a photo of your favorite meal.