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Good Gardening

Living Less Unsustainably: Beef

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Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
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Hi all, Climate Master John Fischer here with KLCC's Living Less Unsustainably.

What you eat plays a big part in your personal climate impact. And the elephant in the dining room turns out to be a cow.

Meat and dairy production account for 15% of food climate emissions. And three quarters of all agricultural land is used for livestock. The environmental impact from all that land cleared - often forested land - to pasture livestock, or grow feed for animals adds even more to the footprint of meat and dairy.

Grass fed beef is no better- by most measures probably worse.  Not only are those cattle usually finished on grain for a few months, the overall emissions of grass fed beef is higher per pound than feedlot beef because it takes longer for the animals to attain market size.

Beef protein is seven times more impactive than chicken, and chicken is seven times more impactive than peas or lentils.

Cheese and dairy has a third the impact of beef per pound, and because a portion of cheese is so much smaller than a portion of beef, the impact for dairy is proportionally lower.

Pork beats beef, chicken beats pork, and portion plays an important part too. One fifth of the US population produces one half of our meat and dairy emissions. Meatless Monday won't make much of a difference, but the right meat, in moderation, in combination with other foods can be scrumptious, and rapidly reduce methane pollution.

Asking people to consider a higher mileage car, can benefit the driver. Encouraging home weatherization is a winning proposition. But proposing a change in what we eat can get you shunned.

All we are saying, is give peas a chance. 

I'm John Fischer with Living Less Unsustainably.

Copyright 2021, KLCC