This is not another doom and gloom piece about how eating meat is destroying the planet, I promise.
But Ecorazzi senior editor Michael Parrish DuDell's recent blog about environmentalists partying with beef tartar got me thinking: If people know about the massive global damage caused by meat production, why is making a change so difficult? Is it because people don't care? Is it because it's too difficult to give up meat? I'd argue it's neither. It's simply because we all think: it's just me and my burger, what's the difference?
Well, instead of more stark statistics and guilt, I thought I'd try something different: inspirational facts on the difference you could be making. The source for the following list is Marianne Thieme's amazing documentary, Meat the Truth, a quirky, unauthorized sequel of sorts to the more famed An Inconvenient Truth. You can watch an abbreviated version of the film here.
Here's what Marianne's research team found it would mean if all Americans left meat off their plates for just one day. Or two. And so on. I suggest you print out this list and put in on your fridge door, you might just get inspired:
- If all Americans did not eat meat for one day a week, they would save 99.6 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. This would be the equivalent of removing 46 million round trip flights between Los Angeles and New York, or taking 19.2 million cars off the road for a full year.
- If everyone in the US did not eat meat for two days a week, they would save 199 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. This would have the same effect as replacing ALL household appliances in the US with energy efficient ones.
- If all Americans did not eat meat for three days a week, they would save almost 300 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. This would have a greater impact on the climate than replacing all US cars with Toyota Priuses.
- If everyone in the US did not eat meat for four days a week, they would save 398 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. This would be the carbon savings equivalent of cutting the use of all electricity, gas, oil, petroleum, and kerosene in the United States in half.
- If all Americans abstained from eating meat for five days a week, they would save 498 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. This would result in the carbon savings equivalent of planting 13 billion trees and letting them grow for ten years.
- If all Americans did not eat meat for six days a week, they would save nearly 600 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. This would be the equivalent of eliminating the total electricity use of all households in the United States.
- And finally: If everyone in the United States ate a vegetarian diet for seven days, they would save around 700 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. That would be the same as removing all the cars off the roads in the US.
Need another reason? I thought not.
And if you're one of those people who still feels I'm just trying come between you and your burger, I say: not at all. Just eat a veggie burger. At least once a week.