Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vegetarian Diet Cuts Carbon Footprint

Going veggie can slash your carbon footprint: study

BERLIN (AFP, 8/26/08) -- Giving up meat could drastically reduce your carbon footprint, with meat-eaters' diets responsible for almost twice the emissions of those of vegetarians, a German study said today.

A diet with meat is responsible for producing in a year the same amount of greenhouse gases as driving a mid-sized car 4,758 km (2,956 miles), the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IOeW) said.

But the food a vegetarian consumes in 12 months is responsible for generating the same emissions as driving 2,427 km, the IOeW said in a study commissioned by independent consumer protection group Foodwatch.

The calculations are based on emissions of greenhouse gases, including methane produced by the animals themselves, as well as emissions from food production including manufacturing feed and fertilizer and the use of farmland.

Going vegan -- giving up meat and dairy products -- would cut the emissions released in making what you eat more than sevenfold, to the equivalent of driving 629 km, it said.

And if it is all organic, your food footprint is almost a 17th of that of a meat-eater -- the equivalent of driving 281 km.

Beef is particularly environmentally unfriendly, it said, with producing a kilo (2.2 pounds) the same as driving 71 km compared with 26 km for pork.

Switching to organic farming can cut emissions dramatically, "but what counts is the way we feed ourselves...production and consumption first and foremost of beef and milk must be cut drastically," the study said.
"Compassion and love are not mere luxuries. As the source both of inner and external peace, they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species" - Dalai Lama.
Shopping for vegetables at a hypermarket in Taipei, July 2008 (AFP/File/Patrick Lin)

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