According to numerous studies, including ones by the United Nations, meat production globally contributes significantly to global warming. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization in 2006, meat production contributes between 14 to 22 percent of global greenhouse gases yearly. However, this total is thought to be much higher considering the total uses old statistics and does not take into account methane and other contributions.
Many statistics are available regarding meat production, including its part in water pollution, water usage, land usage and the overall efficiency of the process. For example, producing half a pound of beef is said to pollute as much as a standard 3,000 pound vehicle driving ten miles. The amount of water required for that half a pound of meat is approximately 1,250 gallons, or 2,500 gallons per pound of beef. Such statistics are widely available from scientific sources.
As the world’s population grows and many areas become richer, meat demand will increase. Experts predict that within fifty years food demand will double, putting massive strain on current agricultural methods and the land overall. Increased efficiency in both meat and grain production will be required to feed a growing population, efficiency which is currently lacking in the system. Global warming offers additional pressure as it is expected to change rainfall patterns and levels and increase droughts. An increased population will also strain the amount of water available for agriculture and individuals.
In addition to the environmental concerns with meat consumption, there are also many potential health effects indicated by doctors around the globe. Issues include heart disease, numerous cancers, diabetes and obesity. These reasons in addition to environmental concerns are why the Los Angeles city council recently approved to endorse Meatless Mondays, a well-known international campaign began in 2003.
With the 12-0 approval by the city council, Los Angeles is now the largest U.S. city to promote the campaign. The campaign is in no way required but is more of a push to make individuals more aware of their dietary choices overall. The council indicated that the decision was due to the potential reduction in carbon footprint, increased health and overall environmental benefits.