10 Aug I’m A Beaniever, Not A Beef-Eater
My friend doesn’t like beans. She hates them actually. I don’t understand why, because I freakin´ love all beans! Hell, I even turned into a beaniever, following a recent study that shows that beans are not just good for YOU, they could change the world!
But let’s start with the U.S….
With one dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet the greenhouse-gas emission goals! I’ll say it again: with ONE dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet the greenhouse-gas emission goals. It’s crazy.
Recently, a team of scientists calculated just what would happen if every American made one dietary change: substituting beans for beef (in terms of both calories and protein). They found that if everyone were willing and able to do that—hypothetically—the U.S. could still come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals, pledged by President Barack Obama in 2009.
That is, even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74% of the reductions needed to meet the 2020 GHG target for the US.
The researchers explained that beef cattle are the most GHG-intensive food to produce while the production of legumes (beans, peas etc.) accounts for only one-fortieth the amount of GHGs as beef. They also concluded that shifting from animal-sourced to plant-sourced foods could help avert global temperature rise.
A relatively small, single-food substitution could be the most powerful change a person makes in terms of their lifetime environmental impact—more so than downsizing one’s car, or being vigilant about turning off light bulbs, and certainly more than quitting showering.
If that’s not enough, the researchers also found that beef production is an inefficient use of agricultural land (deforestation, land degradation, you name it…). Substituting beans for beef would free up 42% of cropland (over 400 million square acres)! That’s 1.6 times the size of California!
Given the scale of greenhouse gas reductions needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, giving up on beef should not be such a difficult thing to do. Maybe sneak in a beef analog once that looks and tastes like beef, and see whether your fellow beef-eater (a.k.a. your husband) can tell the difference. I’m 99% sure they won’t. Or just make them a bean burger; what’s not to love?
The results don’t lie. A small change, makes a big difference. Taking on beef first, then we’ll tackle the rest of the world….eh meat.
What about the McDonalds Vegan Burger?