I’ve been a vegetarian for almost twenty years, but I’m intentionally chill about it. I won’t eat meat or poultry but I never tell anyone they should follow my lead. I honestly don’t care if other people are carnivores or not as long as my plate stays meat-free. But I have to be honest and say that reading this article in the Harvard Business Review did make me feel a weensie bit self righteous. The article says that if you want to reduce your carbon footprint you can try eating local, but even if everything you buy is local, you’ll still do better by just cutting the meat out of your diet.
• Food is transported a long way, going about 1,000 miles in delivery and over 4,000 miles across the supply chain.
• But 83% of the average U.S. household’s carbon footprint for food comes from growing and producing it. Transportation is only 11%.
• Different foods have vastly different greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity, with meat requiring far more energy to produce, and red meat being particularly egregious, requiring 150% more energy than even chicken.
So the journal article adds this up to an obvious conclusion: if you want to reduce your food’s carbon footprint, eat less meat. In short, “Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more GHG reduction than buying all locally sourced food.”
So if you’re trying to compensate for all the air conditioning you’re using this summer by using a bit less fossil fuels in other parts of your life, how about having a vegetarian Shabbat this week? Here at MJL we already have a nice little database of Vegetarian Entrees, but here are four more of my favorites:
What are your favorite vegetarian Shabbat entrees?