Is Beef Costing Us the Earth?

CowThe latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stresses the need for us all to act now to avoid run-away global warming. But as Governments debate and disagree on what form of action this should take, as individuals, what can we really do now that will make a difference? We know driving less, flying less, and insulating our homes better will help cut C02 emissions, but perhaps the choices about the food we eat have a role to play too.

I recently came across this fascinating film The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers. There’s enough evidence for most of what it says to make one pause and think. What if what our food choices really do have the power to make a difference on a global scale? Industrial scale cattle farming and its associated deforestation has become the norm in order to keep up with the demand for beef around the world. Vast areas of land are required for grazing and to grow feed, but cows also are unwitting culprits in putting more methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

Personally, the idea of cutting down or even cutting out eating meat altogether seems hard, but I get the feeling it would be one of the most significant steps of all to take.

Fancy trying to go veggie? Here’s four tips from the Vegetarian Society to get you going:

Every meal helps – you don’t have to go veggie all at once, feel good about what you are doing to reduce the amount of meat and fish that you eat.

Stop and think about what you eat – be careful not to just swop meat or fish with lots of dairy products. Read up on the basics of nutrition for a vegetarian.

Ask for help – going vegetarian is a big step. Ask for help and advice from organisations such as The Vegetarian Society and seek out friends and acquaintances who are vegetarian for support.

Don’t give up – don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up. Just remember all the reasons why you decided to switch and give it another go.