Facts & Figures
Eating less meat can help protect your planet
We only have one earth and if we wish to keep it for future generations we need to ask ourselves how we can help protect the environment. The best way to offset your carbon footprint is to eat less meat.
Have a look what South Africans can do by cutting back the amount of meat they eat:
Did you know?
A report concluded by Jeff Anhang and Robert Goodland for World Watch found that livestock accounts for 51% of all Greenhouse Gases. That’s more than every form of transportation in the world combined. The reason for this is because two of the gases livestock produce are Methane and Nitrous Oxide – which are 20 times and 296 times, respectively, more powerful in terms of global warming potential1.
Compare the Carbon Footprint of a Vegan Burger to a Beef Burger
The amount of Carbon Dioxide equivalents produced by a Fry’s Veggie burger is just over 200g while nearly 6000g are pumped into the atmosphere for one single beef burger! Even more startling is the fact that every second the area the size of a football field is cleared in the Amazon to produce 250 beef burgers.
Having meat free days will help:
- Avoid excessive CO2 production,
- Reduce methane/nitrous oxide production,
- Save large amounts of water,
- Avoid polluting our streams/rivers/oceans,
- Reduce destruction of topsoil & tropical rainforest,
- Reduce the destruction of wildlife habitats & endangered species,
- Reduce the use of antibiotics, growth promoters and chemicals
- If all Americans ate no meat, chicken or fish for just one day a week, this would result in the same carbon savings as taking 19.2million cars off the road in the US for an entire year, or save emission equivalent to 46 million return flights from New York to Los Angeles2.
- Currently some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, while the majority of grain grown in the world – which could be feeding them, goes to feed cattle, pigs and chickens. By some estimates 20 vegetarians can be fed on the amount of land needed to feed one person consuming a meat-based diet3.
- 250l of water is needed to produce 1kg of wheat compared to the 25 000l of water which is required to produce 1kg meat. By committing to Meat Free Mondays, each individual could save about 3360l of water per week!4
- It requires 500 times as much land to produce 1kg of beef as it does to produce 1kg vegetables.
- About 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef, as opposed to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy which goes into producing one calorie of plant-based protein.4
- If every South African gave up eating meat for one day a week it would be equivalent to the annual carbon absorbed by 1 000 000 acres of pine forests.
- Annually meat contributes the same carbon dioxide and equivalents as the electricity used by nearly 5 million homes in South Africa.
3Robbins, p.220; Vandana Shiva, Stolen Harvest (South End Press, 2000), pp. 70-71.
4Pimentel, D. & Pimentel, M. H. 2003, “Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment”, American Society for Clinical Nutrition, vol. 78, pp. 660S-663S.
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