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Going Meatless to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint


         Reduce your carbon footprint by going vegetarian.

Suffolk University

The changes we’ve seen in our planet over the past decade alone have forced us to take a more serious look at the damage we’re doing the environment. The dwindling number of endangered species, fleeting natural resources, and drastic changes in weather patterns have all made us more eco-conscious. But what if someone told you there was a way to reduce your carbon footprint by slightly altering your diet?

Out of the estimated 300 million people living in the United States, approximately 700,000 of them are practicing vegetarians. It isn’t a large percentage of the population, but chances are you’ve come across a vegan or vegetarian in your every day life. It takes purpose, vigilance, and a hefty amount of motivation to take such control over your diet, but not all vegetarians are extreme animal activists or health nuts. In fact, more people are making the switch over to vegetarianism for a new cause: global warming.

In 2007, the United Nations released a report stating that a whopping 18 percent of carbon emissions come from raising livestock such as chickens, pigs, and other animals for consumption. This number is 40 percent more than we release through modes of transportation, such as cars, airplanes, and trucks.

About 1.3 billion people could be fed every year from the feed given to livestock in the United States alone. Approximately 33 percent of the land on our planet is occupied by livestock, and the business generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide. This Ozone layer killer has 296 times the Global Warming Potential of carbon dioxide.

And if you are a fighter for the animals, consider this: 70 percent of forests in the Amazon have been turned into grounds for grazing. Animals bred for consumption, such as dairy cows, now account for 20 percent of all animal biomass. If you’re wondering why the endangered species list is growing, take a look at the lack of biodiversity.

The first place people look to reduce their carbon footprint is their homes. Turning off the faucet while brushing, replacing a few light bulbs, and even trading in your car for a new hybrid are a great start, but the new facts being released are indicating that it may not be enough. The next time you’re craving a different type of cuisine, think green. If you need a little more motivation, try this: vegetarians are at a lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. According to a study released by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, vegans and vegetarians live an average of 10 years longer than meat eaters. Not only will you be saving the planet, but you’ll be giving yourself more time to explore and enjoy all it has to offer, too.

  For more info: Visit to jumpstart your vegetarian lifestyle.


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