There are few think tanks as serious and sober as Canada’s Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) and the same could be said for its digital magazine Policy Options. Yet in July, there among the magazine’s weighty articles on economic productivity, NAFTA, and pension reform, was a piece titled “Plant-based diet should be central to national food policy”.
It may be delicious, but the evidence is accumulating that meat, particularly red meat, is just a disaster for the environment — and not so great for human beings, either.
Livestock quietly causes 10 times more deforestation than the palm oil industry but seems to get about 10 times less media attention. While it’s certainly true that avoiding unsustainable palm oil is a good idea, avoiding eating animals that were raised on grain is an even more effective conservation tactic.
Feeding the world without damaging nature is one of the greatest challenges humanity faces. But with a little foresight, better land governance and some simple meal changes, many of the solutions are at arm’s length.
For wildlife’s sake, go forth and enjoy your veggie burgers.
At the FrigoAmazonas slaughter house inside the world’s largest rainforest, the owner doesn’t mince his words – much of the cattle processed here comes from illegally deforested land.
“It’s impossible to buy cows from land that isn’t deforested,” Felipe Oliveira told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in his tatty office at the abattoir in Brazil’s Amazonas State.
“Everyone here deforests… if they don’t, it’s impossible for a family to live,” the slaughterhouse boss said, sitting beneath exposed electrical wires hanging from the ceiling.
As public attention focuses on the impact of policy changes on the climate, we may overlook an important contributor to the climate crisis: our food systems and the daily food choices we make. It may sound hyperbolic that our roast beef sandwich is contributing to environmental degradation of the planet. But mounting evidence of the impact requires our attention and action as global citizens.
From CNN Go vegan, save the planet