The digital publication, Epicurious, announced recently that they will no longer be posting recipes containing beef, stating that they “think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet.”
This got me thinking… I have never been much of a red meat eater, aside from the occasional burger (and beer!) after a big day out on the trails. However, I definitely enjoy getting outside, and the changes in climate have not been lost on me. Forest fires that cause smoke for months on end often put a halt to my summer and fall running.
As trail runners, we are often naturally stewards of the environment. We not only maintain the trails we like to run, but we pack out what we pack in, we pick up others’ trash, we even dismantle illegal fire rings or occasionally stomp out an escaped fire.
So how can the foods we eat contribute to our stewardship?
According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, red meat and dairy contribute to 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gasses. The best visual I have heard is what Rich Roll described in Finding Ultra: environmentally, eating one burger is the equivalent to paving over 5 acres of forest. That is a lot easier to imagine than what a certain percentage of greenhouse gasses may mean. While beef and dairy are not unique – one-quarter of all emissions are related to our food supply – they are the largest contributors.
Simply reducing the amount of beef and dairy you consume is one of the greatest things you can do to support mother earth. As individuals, this impact doesn’t necessarily go very far, so the second greatest thing you can do is start spreading the word on reducing beef and dairy consumption. It may just start at your home, but soon it will spread among our communities (both IRL and virtual, nowadays!). It will make a huge difference if the world’s largest meat-eaters reduce their consumption even just a little.