Beef and the Environment

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It wasn't long ago that I felt inspired by Sarah Gilbert's blog post about going car-free, and questioned whether or not I could give up our family car as she has done. Just this past week, I overheard a few guys at Grand Central Bakery discussing the percentage of their incomes that goes toward their cars (insurance, gas, car payment, maintenance, tickets, parking fees, etc.). We're actually seriously considering investing in a 2009 Subaru Outback in the coming weeks, and although I don't think we're ready at this point in our lives in this rainy state and with two kids to go car-free, it's an issue I consider to be a serious one and worth considering carefully (Portland's public transit and bike routes make this decision an easy one for many). I have a lot of respect and admiration for families like the Gilberts that have successfully been car-free for years.

Last weekend, Landon grilled up some veggies and steaks when we had his parents over for dinner, and I got to thinking about beef. Come to find out, cows are the 2nd major cause of global warming. Second. The first cause are powerhouses and the third are cars. Cows and the consumption of beef actually contribute to global warming more than all the cars we see on the roads. In Eating Beef More Destructive To Environment Than Driving a Car, researchers found that "The environmental footprint of producing just over two pounds of beef is greater than that of driving a car for three hours . . . " That's pretty much all it took for me to decide to give up beef. Giving up our car doesn't seem like an easy decision, though I would like to drive less, but when you realize that the two pounds of ground beef you just fried up for a taco dinner cost the planet the same as a three hour road trip, well, the decision to go beef-free, especially when there are so many other tasty alternatives, seems like an easy one. I'm not even a huge fan of red meat anyway, and although I crave a hamburger every once in awhile, I think I could easily transition to veggie burgers. I'm thinking I'm going to give up on pork as well (pigs are right up there with cows as big-time methane producers), though I'm not officially declaring myself pork-free just yet (bacon is just too good with eggs every once in awhile). And so I'm going to be a beef-free girl--I already have my Gardenburger patties in the freezer . . . step by step, I'm doing my part.

If you do eat beef, make sure you buy beef from grass-fed cows. This video is informative on the corn-fed vs. grass-fed issue:

Oh, and by the way, since we're talking about cows and all, check out Heather Smith Jones' moo pack--love her work! Her Etsy shop can be found here.


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