No Meat Athlete? - Page 3
Eating Lower on the Food Chain
On top of the nutritional advantages, eating less animal-based products benefits the environment. Americans eat nearly 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year. A 2010 United Nations report tells us eating this much meat is damaging to the environment. Cows in particular, emit methane, a gas the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims is “20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.”
Eating vegetarian or vegan means using fewer resources. A 2008 German study concluded that a meat-eater’s diet is responsible for more than seven times as much greenhouse-gas emissions as a vegan’s diet. According to Environmental Defense, an environmental advocacy group, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon-dioxide-emission savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.
Sarah Schewe is a freelance writer based in Hanover, New Hampshire. She enjoys running along the Connecticut River and teaching cooking.