Surely we all agree that we all eat too much meat – and that farming meat is ridiculously inefficient and requires a staggering amounts of resources. What’s more, once you have bred your animals, processing those resources then requires another massive amount of energy, and the farming of livestock releases much of the greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global warming. Hmmmmm. Makes sense to us – BUT – and its a big ”but’, a team from the respected Carnegie Mellon University has published a new report in Environment Systems and Decisions arguing that vegetarian diets contribute more to climate change than livestock farming. Really? Carnegie Mellon researchers even say that updated US Department of Agriculture recommendations— which emphasise cutting back on meat and consuming more fruits, vegetables, and seafood — are encouraging citizens to inadvertently use more resources and thus cause more “emissions per calorie.” How can this be? Well the key word here is “calories”.
Munchies rells us “Raising a pig obviously requires far more resources than raising a few heads of iceberg lettuce. But this is the larger issue: ten pounds of pork feeds a lot more people than ten pounds of lettuce. You have to eat a lot more lettuce to feel full than you do pork fat. And therein lies the issue.”
Paul Fischbeck, Professor of Social Decisions Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon, said in a statement, “Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon” adding “Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think,” he continued. “Eggplant, celery, and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”