Why You Should Try #MeatlessMarch

Justin here:)

This March, we’re cutting meat from our diet.

Why?

Because cutting meat from our diet is one of the single biggest things we can do as individuals to prevent global warming.

Wait… what?

Did you know that the animal agriculture industry is responsible for more emissions than the exhaust of ALL global transportation?

Yeah, neither did we.

Sarah and I love meat. We’re meat eaters, and I was personally extremely challenged when I discovered what you’re about to read.

Last year, the United Nations released a landmark report on climate change, which states that we may have only 11 years left to avoid a 1.5 degree increase in global temperatures that will take us past the point of irrevocable damage to our planet’s climate.

We’re talking the complete global eradication of coral, entire coastlines and nations disappearing under the ocean, freshwater shortages, more rampaging wildfires. The list goes on.

If we don’t course-correct now, these things may become unavoidable.

11 years.

This is not a problem for our grandchildren to solve. This is not a problem for our children to solve.  This is a problem for US to solve.

This is a problem that requires action now.

When I reviewed the report I was honestly in disbelief. I’ve always considered climate change important, but if I’m honest, it was an abstraction. If we all do our part, recycle, stop idling our cars, replace our light bulbs with LEDs, we’re making a difference – right?

Wrong.

If you’re like us, you’re probably trying to do your part, too.

Honestly, we thought we were doing our best. We recycle, choose low-energy bulbs and appliances, we opt for reusable or biodegradable straws and conveniences when we can… we are even trying out cloth “paper towel” and so far, so good.

But – when I began to look into the data on emissions, it was astonishing. None of these things have anywhere close to a statistically significant impact on our global emissions.

In fact, 71% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from just 100 companies, most of them fossil fuel companies. So – what can we even do as consumers that will make a meaningful difference?

It feels defeating.

Truly, global legislation and regulation will be an essential part of solving this problem, if we can actually solve it.

But Sarah and I believe that, as people on this planet, we need to be responsible and informed when it comes to reducing our emissions footprint (total greenhouse gas emissions).

And you know what we realized?

The single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions that we could cut in one move was our diet.

Make a difference by using less electricity? Great! But in Ontario, Canada all electricity is already 96% emission free.

Drive less or go electric? Good idea, transportation exhaust (including ships and planes) accounts for 13 percent of global emissions.

But shockingly, the animal agriculture industry (meat and dairy) weighs in even heavier and is responsible for a whopping 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

How had I never heard this before? Could it really be true?

A meat heavy diet (which Sarah and I thoroughly enjoy) contributes 7.19 kilograms of emissions per day for each adult in a household.

Could a meat-heavy diet actually generate more emissions daily than our entire household electricity use every month?

Shockingly, yes.

And our vehicles?

We did the math. We could actually save more greenhouse gas emissions for our household by switching to a non-meat diet than if we traded both of our cars in for electric cars.

By simply substituting meat for other plant based sources of food we can prevent hundreds of kilograms of emissions monthly.

We could not believe this.

The further we dug, the more we were shocked by the impact that raising animals for meat and food was having on our environment. If you’re in doubt, I challenge you to look for yourself.

11 years…

The world in which we release our children into will be a vastly different one than the one we grew up in.

When we wake up on January 1, 2030, the world might not look that different.

But, that date could mark the beginning of a downward spiral that we may never pull ourselves out of.

Unless we act.

Yes, governments need to act. Corporations need to be held responsible.

But we too need to be accountable for our actions as individuals.

Sarah and I don’t want to look our grandchildren in the eye and have to say, “We knew, and we did nothing.”

We love our planet and our children.

So we are ready to start a change.

We are giving up meat for the month of March in an attempt to jumpstart new habits. And to try to keep this beautiful wonder that we call home alive.

Are we going to become vegetarians?  We don’t know. But we know we need to change something. You with us?

If you’re challenged to learn more, that’s incredible. Challenged to change a habit, that’s amazing.

Any significant lifestyle change can be daunting, so start small. Walk before you run. Try giving up meat for just thirty days.

Begin with #MeatlessMarch, we are.

Would you join us?

Sources:

Helpful Links:

Diet/Electric Car Comparison Data and Tools

Justin

Justin according to Sarah – thrives at almost anything he applies his head and heart to. He never stops learning, and loves dreaming up new challenges to grow himself. His introvert ways give him incredible insight into life’s obstacles, of which he’s had his share. But best of all, Justin fully engages in his relationship with God, our marriage and the beginning of parenthood. Oh, and he spoils us with great coffee and cooking!

2 Comments

    1. Justin Piercy February 20, 2019

      Great link. I hadn’t seen it but found that discrepancy in comparison in other research. This is why I tried to keep my language precise and specific in comparing transportation “exhaust” to the footprint of the animal agriculture sector. It’s a little skewed, but I felt that worded that way I could make that comparison in good conscience.

      There is actually some overlap there as the emissions footprint of the animal agriculture industry does in fact include some transportation exhaust.

      One thing I’ve learned is how easy it is to frame statistics to be favourable to your own viewpoint! This is why looking at these reports ourselves and coming to our own conclusions is so important.

      Thanks for making sure I’m keeping things honest here!

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