Diet is really one of the most commonly overlooked things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. That's a message I never tire of getting out there; and while I'd recommend a completely vegetarian diet (for the planet, your health and for the cultivation of compassion), even just one day a week really can make a difference. That's the message Meatless Monday is sending:If we all just commit to one day a week without eating meat, the effect will be great over the course of the year:
- Our greenhouse gas emission reductions equal US switching from a car with average fuel efficiency (that's about 22 mpg for the entire fleet) to a high efficiency car such as the Toyota Prius (50 mpg).
- We will save about 1 ton of water, enough to fill up the bathtub 22 times per week
- If everyone in the US did this, we'd collectively save about 12 billion gallons of gasoline
Climate Change Mitigation Costs Slashed by Vegetarian Diet
Though the exact figures vary depending on which study you look at, according to a recent study done in the Netherlands, if the majority of the population adopted a completely vegetarian diet the costs of climate change mitigation could drop by 70%. And even if people just cut back their meat consumption to more reasonable levels—particularly in the US where meat consumption is well out of line with the recommendations of doctors and nutritionists—the costs of climate change mitigation can drop by 50%.
More: Meatless Monday
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