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How can we reduce overall meat consumption in order to reduce fossil fuels?


The most prominent greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, Ozone, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and Chlorofluorocarbons. The rise in greenhouse gas emissions over the last 200 years is the cause of Global Warming and Climate Change.  The food industry currently is responsible for around 1/5 of greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the meat and dairy industry play the largest role. 1/3 of the fossil fuels that the US produces are used to fuel the meat industry. Although it is not widely known, people often eat more meat than is recommended nutritionally. Reducing the amount of meat that one eats will reduce the demand for meat. When the demand for meat decreases there will also be a decrease in the need to transport meat, to clear land, to use fertilizer, to breed cattle, and overall food waste. All of these things contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and so their reduction would have a tremendous impact on the environment. 

What you need to know

What are the effects of climate change? Why should you care?

Climate change will cause a shift in temperatures causing the average temperature of the earth to increase (also known as global warming). This increase in the earths temperature is cause by the enhanced greenhouse gas effect which is due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The most dramatic effects of climate change are changing precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, melting arctic ice, more intense storms, and increasing drought and heat waves. These emissions also result in air pollution and thus respiratory illnesses. If emissions are not reduced dramatically the earth will soon reach a change in temperature in which the results would be exponential and the damage will be irreversible and ultimately earth will be uninhabitable.

How does meat contribute?

If all the cows in the world were to form their own country they would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Although that is not a realistic situation it get’s at a very real problem which is that cows alone are responsible for a very high number of greenhouse gas emissions. Cows burp methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases and also excrete it in their manure. Cows that are bred by the meat industry burp a lot more than they would normally and this is because they are fed the incorrect foods to speed up their growth to meat the high demand for beef. Cows are simply one example of a meat source that emit lots of greenhouse gases. The energy required to produce meat is exponentially more than that required to produce vegetables and other food sources. It takes 229 pounds of water to produce 1 pound of rice and it takes more than 20,000 pounds of water to produce a pound of beef. The transportation and filtration of water adds even more emissions. These meats are shipped thousands of miles away to reach the supermarket and the technology required to keep them cold also requires a lot of energy.

What you can do

 

  1. Pay attention to what you are eating. If you do eat meat make an effort to support local farms. Smaller farming operations have lower carbon footprints and also will require less refrigeration and transportation to be delivered to your local supermarket. Fish have a smaller carbon footprint than meat but this is lowest when the fish are wild-caught. Simply take a little extra time to read the labels on the packages of the meat that you are buying and then you can make an informed decision as to whether or not the product you are buying is contributing unnecessarily to greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. The next thing that you can do is to make an effort to switch out meat in some of your meals for fish or a plant-based protein source. As explained above, people typically eat more meat than their body actually needs. This extra protein comes out in urine and is simply wasted. Maybe you are someone who typically eats meat with all three meals. My suggestion to you would be skipping it at breakfast and replacing it with another protein source. The less meat you eat the larger the impact on the environment. Every time you make the decision not to have meat in your meal (as long as you don’t waste it instead) you are reducing your carbon footprint. 
You are probably already consuming protein without knowing it. Protein can easily be found outside meat. Here are a few examples of foods that naturally have a lot of protein. Click on this link to go to the a version of this diagram that has a recipe for each food. Fish is not included in this diagram but it also has a lot of protein

How will you help?

Make pescatarian and vegetarian recipes. Be vocal about it! Share these recipes with your friends and family and spread the word about why what you’re eating is better for the environment.

I have made an account on TikTok where I share pescatarian and vegetarian recipes. If there are vegetarian or pescatarian foods that you would like to make but don’t have a recipe; reach out to me and I will put together a video. If you have recipes you would like to share with me and wouldn’t mind me posting; that would be much appreciated too. Also show love to my page, and give me feedback. The more attention my account gets the more my videos will show up on other peoples for you page’s and have the potential to inspire others to reduce their meat consumption.

My TikTok is veggiepescierecipes feel free to check it out if you need recipe suggestions.

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COMMENTS: 60
  1. April 23, 2020 by Max Daniel

    During a time like right now, where a lot of us are holed up in our houses, this article was completely eye opening. When I get lazy at home, I tend to wanna resort to eating a quick snack like a hotdog or sandwich, but after listening to your video and reading your article, I definitely see myself eating less meat and possibly even focusing towards foods you suggested such as Seitan and Quinoa. Great article!

    • April 24, 2020 by Morgan

      I’m so glad to hear that! If you need anymore ideas feel free to reach out.

  2. April 23, 2020 by Maddie Daniel

    I’m the sister of Max Daniel, who suggested I read this article as someone who also consumes meat a lot. I liked the parts of the article that gave me suggestions to what else I could eat, like the chickpeas and other stuff. Good article Morgan

  3. April 23, 2020 by Maddy

    Wow I had no idea meat had such a big affect on the climate! I have always tried to be eco friendly and didn’t realize not eating meat was a way I could make a difference. I’ve tried all of your recipes and they’re delicious! Thank you so much for informing me I’m going to consider becoming a vegetarian.

    • April 24, 2020 by Morgan

      Thanks for checking out my recipes! Going vegetarian is a big decision, I’m glad I could inspire you to consider it.

  4. April 23, 2020 by Connor

    Wow so interesting! I did not know that pasta contained so much protein! Keep up the good work!

  5. April 23, 2020 by Julia Martin

    The information was very informative and differently help me to grasp The effects of global warming.
    I had to change my diet due my level of iron in my blood to eating red meat. I will differently re/evaluate my meat choices going forward.

    H

  6. April 23, 2020 by Aunt K

    Great Job baby girl. Way to give people good information. Keep up the great work. Thanks for sharing and caring

  7. April 23, 2020 by Harlem Rogers

    Woah, this was definitely very eye opening. I really learned a lot!!

  8. April 23, 2020 by Elaine

    Hey Morgan! I recently learned that the meat industry can be harmful to the climate but didn’t entirely know why; your page gave a lot of detail about that which was very informative for me. I’ve already started to cut back on meat, specifically red meat, but I will try to move to either a vegetarian or pescatarian diet too. I also like how you taught us a lot while still acknowledging that it can be hard for some people to make such a big switch to vegetarian or pescatarian.

    • April 24, 2020 by Morgan

      I’m thrilled that your going to try to move towards a pescatarian or vegetarian diet, that’s awesome! It’s a big decision and I don’t want to downplay it so even if you don’t ultimately make the switch don’t be discouraged. Any effort is a step in the right direction and will benefit the environment.

  9. April 23, 2020 by Trey Cody

    Agreed that ya meat eaters can switch up sometimes. Below is my go to meatless pita recipe.

    https://www.hellofresh.com/recipes/harissa-sweet-potato-pita-pockets-5c3cb170c445fa2277482006

  10. April 23, 2020 by Trey Cody

    While not related to green house gas emissions, across the country meat packaging plants have ad major COVID-19 outbreaks. Silver lining that this has cause some of them to close, which could temporarily help reduce pollution. Think about how much China’s pollution decreases when they initially shut down due to COVID-19. Keep up the great work!

    https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2020/04/22/meat-packing-plants-covid-may-force-choice-worker-health-food/2995232001/

    • April 24, 2020 by Morgan

      Thanks for the recipe, the pita pocket looks really good! I agree that although the circumstances that require meat packaging plants to close down are less than ideal, this is also a learning moment. Hopefully we can continue to decrease fossil fuels after this pandemic is over.

  11. April 23, 2020 by Ale Cantu

    I am so proud of you! 🙂

    • April 24, 2020 by Morgan

      Thanks Ms. Cantu, I wouldn’t have been able to make this without you! ☺️

  12. April 23, 2020 by Jane

    I’m a pescatarian as well and I love this page! It’s really important to be vocal about the damage that meat consumption does not only to the environment but also to your body.

  13. April 24, 2020 by Christian

    This piece of writing really made me sit and examine myself, awesome job!

  14. April 24, 2020 by Alexa Hanson

    Morgan! I love this it is so impressive. Super cool and perfect time to get the message across. I will definitely be checking out your tik tok! Again this article was really well written and informative. Great job! I loved it.

    • April 24, 2020 by Morgan

      Hey Alexa,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my page. I hope you like my recipes, and please don’t hesitate to share some of your own favorites with me.

  15. April 24, 2020 by Dara Jih-Cook

    Wow! This was truly eye opening, Morgan! Might just have to go vegetarian now

  16. April 24, 2020 by Desmond

    I didn’t really think about the link between the food I eat and climate change. Thanks for the great info.

  17. April 24, 2020 by Donna Rice-Terrell

    Great job and good information Morgan. I am so proud of you!

  18. April 24, 2020 by Kisha

    Morgan, you are inspiring. I’ve learned so much from you and now our entire family eats less meat and fish. I love the recipes. Thanks for informing us and making the world a little better.

  19. April 24, 2020 by Julian

    This was really good, more people need to think like this

    • April 24, 2020 by Morgan

      Thank you. Have you taken any steps to reduce your meat consumption? If so, what?

      • April 24, 2020 by Julian

        I don’t beef or pork anymore

        • April 25, 2020 by Morgan

          That was my first step in reducing my meat consumption too. Does your family now eat less beef and pork too as a result of this ?

  20. April 24, 2020 by Tahirah Stevens

    This was extremely informative and motivating. I was vegan for a while but returned to eating meat more recently. I will do my part in reducing my meat consumed and encourage others to do the same. Thank you for not just making the changes yourself but motivating all of us to be mindful and make better choices! Great job and I look forward to more enlightening and motivating material from you in the future so we can have a better future

    • April 24, 2020 by Morgan

      Hi Tahirah,

      Wow! Going vegan is hard and I’m impressed that you tried, even if you didn’t stay vegan. I’m so happy to hear that you found my page motivational. Thanks for spreading awareness!

  21. April 24, 2020 by rodney rice

    That was very informative. I appreciate the tips and found your delivery of the subject matter to be very concise and clear. Your presence and voice inflection also held my attention, which is sometimes hard to do in this day and age. Lol.

  22. April 24, 2020 by Timmy

    Awesome page. I’ve learned so many new things. I’m currently a vegetarian and am thinking of going vegan. Would that also be beneficial to the environment? Thanks for sharing!

    – Timmy

    • April 24, 2020 by Morgan

      Hi Timmy,

      While the meat industry has a large carbon footprint, the dairy industry is right behind it. So yes, going vegan would also be beneficial to the environment.

      • April 28, 2020 by Timmy

        That great! Thanks Morgan. I’m excited to make a difference!

        – Timmy

  23. April 24, 2020 by Tanique Rice

    Very informative! Thank you for sharing this information. I will check out your recipes. Your cousin, Noah, has become a pescatarian. He has fallen off the wagon maybe once or twice. But he is committed to it and it was his decision, alone. I will definitely share this insightful information with him. Great job!!!!

    • April 25, 2020 by Morgan

      It’s great to hear that Noah is trying to eat pescatarian! Him and I should exchange recipes sometime. When he has fallen back into eating meat what was the reason?

  24. April 24, 2020 by John

    Thanks for reminding us that in addition to the already existing rational for partaking in a sound healthy vegan diet, there is the additional factor that the practice also benefits the planet. It’s a win-win situation. I’m on board.

    • April 25, 2020 by Morgan

      I’m glad you’re on board! What steps have you been taking to reduce your meat consumption?

  25. April 24, 2020 by Jamal

    Hi Morgan, I love the message. I recently began transitioning from eating meats. While its not an easy transition, i started with eliminating pork and beef and explored more plant base and raw foods while enjoying all types of seafood which i love.
    The end result has been a healthier mind and body.
    Its great that your spreading awareness.
    Keep up the good work
    Jamal

    • April 25, 2020 by Morgan

      That is so great to hear! It is important that we encourage other people to make these same changes. How have you been doing this?

  26. April 24, 2020 by John

    Thanks for reminding us that in addition to the already existing rationale for partaking in a sound healthy vegan diet, there is the addition factor that the practice also benefits the planet. It’s a win-win situation. I’m on board.

  27. April 24, 2020 by Duncan

    Morgan: This is a fantastic web page. I am setting a goal for myself to have at least three days a week where I only eat vegetarian as a start, and hopefully, I can do even more from there. Thank you!

    • April 25, 2020 by Morgan

      Hi Duncan!

      That’s so awesome that you are setting goals for yourself! If you need recipes or you have some that you would like to share definitely do reach out.

  28. April 24, 2020 by Janeé

    This information is extremely informative and needed during such a time as this! Thank you for your work!

  29. April 24, 2020 by Emma

    Thanks for sharing. This is very informative!

    • April 24, 2020 by Dionne Mobley

      Great job Morgan! I am so very proud of you. this information was helpful to me as I am trying to manage my intake and weight. I’m also interested in helping our planet.
      Love your cousin Dionne.

  30. April 24, 2020 by Bria Pope

    Thank you Morgan for this good information. I want to reduce my meat intake but it’s hard for me. This will help me

    • April 25, 2020 by Morgan

      Hi Bria!

      I’m sorry that your having trouble reducing your meat intake but definitely keep trying. If you need tips and suggestions feel free to reach out to me. You can do it!

  31. April 24, 2020 by Sherrye Richardson

    Wow! Very interesting and thought-provoking. Definitely makes me reconsider my diet.

  32. April 25, 2020 by Sean B.

    Great job Morgan! This is educational and eye opening!! Providing options makes me want to make a change for my health as well as the environment. If you continue to provide insight and recipes, I think this will make a positive impact for us all! This is inspirational!!

    • April 25, 2020 by Morgan

      Thanks Sean! Have you been taking steps to reduce your meat consumption? If so, in what way?

  33. April 25, 2020 by Stevens Allen T.

    Morgan, This is a wonderful source of information not only for our personal health But critical information to improve our environment… Keep up the good work and please keep us informed as we reducing our carbon footprint. We are very proud of you…

  34. April 25, 2020 by Stevens Allen T. (Uncle)

    Morgan, This is a wonderful source of information not only for our personal health But critical information to improve our environment… Keep up the good work and please keep us informed as we reducing our carbon footprint. We are very proud of you…

  35. April 25, 2020 by Edith Stevens (Aunt Pudd)

    Thank you so much for this article. it was very informative and I really learned a lot. I’m not a big beef eater but I do enjoy some meats. your article has made me think about how I am impacting our environment by what I have been doing unknowingly. the information and recipes and graph has made me think About what changes I can make to better my life and my families lives. thank you for caring enough to share this information.

  36. April 25, 2020 by Katie

    I love your project! I have been vegetarian for a couple years now, and this article was really good reinforcement for the diet decisions I am making. I want to push myself to try and eat less dairy after reading this, because the dairy industry is a big reason there are so many cows. Thanks for sharing your suggestions and meal ideas at the end!

    • April 25, 2020 by Morgan

      Hi Katie!

      It’s so awesome that you are vegetarian and now also want to reduce your dairy consumption. I have not tried a lot of vegan cheeses but I definitely recommend the milk substitutes like oat milk (although not almond milk as it requires a tremendous amount of water to produce). You are doing great things for the environment! Good luck!

  37. April 25, 2020 by James woodland

    Morgan, this was extremely informative! Please continue to enlighten us with positive information like this. Thank you for sharing your suggestions and I will ask you questions on more meal ideas.

  38. April 27, 2020 by Bria Terrell

    Great job. Keep up the great work, I’m so proud of you!

  39. April 27, 2020 by Sharonn Thomas

    This is very informative as I try to reduce my meat intake. I have been struggling with this as I try to eat meat less. Thank you for your insight as this
    confirms my reasons for eating less meat

  40. April 28, 2020 by Crystal Woods

    Amazing Job! Thanks for shedding light on this topic and keeping us informed

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