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How to Eat Meat and Still Reduce Your Environmental Impact

Posted on October 8, 2020 By In Fitness With disabled comments

If you listen to the experts, the authorities, the think tanks, eating meat destroys the environment. It “destroys your health” too, of course, but by far the biggest argument being pushed—and the one most regular people implicitly accept as “probably accurate”—is that meat consumption is detrimental to planetary health.

I’m not going to cover the health part. That’s been done to death. If you’re reading this blog post, you probably reject that aspect of the argument. Hell, you might be chowing down on a steak at this very moment. This post is for the people who still worry about the effect of meat on the environment.

It’s a noble concern, one that I share. So today, I’m going to explain how you can eat meat and still reduce your environmental impact.


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Eat local.

This one is almost entirely self-explanatory. When meat travels across the world to get to your plate, or even halfway across the country, it’s burning through fuel and producing emissions that harm the environment. It has to travel from the farm to the packing plant, from the plant to the shipyard, from the shipyard to the sea, across the sea to the port, from the port to the distribution center, from the distribution center to the store, from the store to your home.

If your meat is local, all those middle men and their emissions are, well, omitted. It goes from the farm to the local abattoir, and then onto the farmers market or local grocer. And sometimes, the farm has their own in-house slaughtering and packing setup, and you cut the middle men out even more.

If enough people do this, the local market expands, and the effect multiplies. So do it!

Eat grass-fed, sustainably-farmed animals.

There’s an entire book about this: Robb Wolf and Diana Rodgers’ Sacred Cow. They also did a very relevant guest post on this stuff.

The basic gist is that animals raised on pasture with rotational grazing that mimics the way herbivores travel and eat in nature can build up the soil, fertilize the land, and trigger greater plant growth and stronger, deeper root systems that further enrich the soil and its bacterial inhabitants. It’s almost like pasture needs herbivores just as much as herbivores need pasture.

More than that, not all land is fungible. There’s a ton of land that’s inhospitable to crops but perfect for livestock. If you got rid of livestock, you’d be wasting that land; you couldn’t just plant some corn on it. It’s livestock or nothing.


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Remember that there’s more to the environment than carbon emissions.

There are many other aspects of the environment to observe and protect—and proper meat can help.

When you get locally packed meat that’s wrapped in butcher paper ten miles from your house, there’s less plastic and less airborne pollutants gumming up your lungs.

When you eat meat that improves the soil, you’re contributing to building the local ecology and preserving soil nutrition.

When you eat animal foods, you obtain the nutrients you need to generate energy and maintain metabolism. Most vegans I know are perpetually cold, always asking if you “can turn the heat up.”

The local environment “counts.”

Eat the bones, skin, guts, and organs—the whole shebang.

The average cow is half muscle meat and half “other stuff.” Most people only eat the muscle meat and ignore the other stuff, which includes bones, connective tissue, cartilage, tendons, and other collagenous material. The other stuff ends up in pet food or used by other industries, but we could be eating it, getting healthier, wasting less food, and reducing the number of cattle that have to be killed and produced in the process. Big waste right here.

Eat the other stuff, folks.

Eat small fatty fish.

Yeah, yeah. Omega-3s, selenium, iron, calcium, iodine, protein. We know. Nutrition aside, these things are great choices for the environment. There are tons of them. Plenty available. The problem is that a huge portion of them go toward feeding farmed carnivorous fish like salmon, and you lose calories in the conversion process. You could feed farmed Atlantic salmon five pounds of sardine slurry to produce one pound of edible salmon, or you could eat those five pounds of sardines yourself.https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/2019/study-clarifies-us-beefs-resource-use-and-greenhouse-gas-emissions/‘>2 And, if you do it the right way, that effect can be a positive one.

So, does this relieve some of your stress? Let me know down below.

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The post How to Eat Meat and Still Reduce Your Environmental Impact appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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