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Keep the Earth Green : Change Habits & Eat Less Meat

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  • NamoAmituofo
    Keep the Earth Green : Change Habits & Eat Less Meat By Dr George Jacobs : President, Vegetarian Society (Singapore), published in The Straits Times Forum :
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 26, 2006

      Keep the Earth Green : Change Habits & Eat Less Meat

      By Dr George Jacobs : President, Vegetarian Society (Singapore),
      published in The Straits Times' Forum :
      http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/forum/story/0,5562,387731,00.html?




      I refer to the article "Climate change: 2 nations can make difference" (ST, April 22). In formally accepting the Kyoto Protocol, Singapore adds to its reputation as a green country. 
      To implement the Protocol, individuals and the government should consider that our eating habits can affect the environment as much as our means of transport and energy generation.

      In particular, we can slow climate change by eating less meat. Two main links exist between meat consumption and climate change.

      One, meat consumption is inefficient because we have to feed an average of about five kilos of plant food to animals to derive one kilogram of meat. To use an analogy, think of how much food a growing child eats before gaining a single kilogram. One implication of this inefficiency is that more forests are destroyed to grow the food fed to animals, thereby worsening climate change.

      Two, going back to the five-to-one ratio, what happens to the other four kilos of plant food that aren't turned into meat? A major proportion becomes waste, which causes air, soil, and water pollution. This waste can contain methane and nitrous oxide. Scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate that these two gases have greater global warming potential than do carbon dioxide. Per molecule, methane traps more than 21 times more heat than carbon dioxide, with nitrous oxide absorbing 270 times more.

      The environmental hazards of eating meat are why the Worldwatch Institute lists reducing meat consumption as one of its ten ways to go green. No sacrifice is involved in eating less meat, as we have so much delicious non-meat food to enjoy here, not to mention the health benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables.

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