Reduce Your Carbon Footprint – Go Vegan

As a follow up to my post, "Reason 812,417 To Go Vegan," here's a quote from one of my favorite resources... New Scientist Magazine.

So for the average American, buying local every day of the year would cut their carbon foot print by only around 4 per cent or 400 kg of CO2eq per year. By comparison, shifting just one day a week from eating red meat and dairy to either chicken, fish, eggs or vegetables lowers your emissions by between 252 kg and 400 kg of CO2eq.  ~  Source:  New Scientist - What is Your Dinner Doing to the Climate?

And if you're one of those people who's having trouble making the jump from vegetarian to vegan, here's an interesting tidbit...

333 grams of CO2eq is emitted to make one hard-boiled egg. Compare that with a bowl of cereal with milk: 1224 grams of CO2eq - equivalent to driving a typical SUV 6 km.  The main culprit in the bowl isn't the cereal, it's the milk. That's because the most emissions-intensive foods are red meat and dairy products. In general, red meat emits 2.5 times as much greenhouse gas as chicken or fish, since rearing cows and other livestock requires a lot of energy. It takes 2.3 kilograms of grain to make every kilo of chicken meat, 5.9 kg of grain for a kilo of pork, and 13 kg of grain plus 30 kg of forage for a kilo of beef. Worse still, they produce methane and their manure releases nitrous oxide.   ~  Source:  New Scientist - What is Your Dinner Doing to the Climate?

(Note: the science of calculating the carbon footprint of food items is not an exact science as it does not necessarily take into account the manner in which foods are produced regionally.  What's been used here is a specific formula not based on generalized data.)


  1. Thank you for posting these not well known facts about the impact of one’s diet on the environment. Another fact I find quite convincing is the following one: it takes over 5,000 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, while growing 1 pound of wheat only requires 25 gallons. A totally vegetarian diet requires only 300 gallons of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day. The implication of it is astonishing: you save more water by not eating a pound of beef than you do by not showering for an entire year.

    For more information on the reasons beyond choosing a vegetarian/vegan diet, and many positive and practical ideas to help the environment and the animals, check out:

    Building an Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering
    By Ethan Smith with Guy Dauncey
    Forward by Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE

  2. Oliver,
    Thanks for pointing out the water issue. I’ve been meaning to write a post on that (living in CA it’s particularly relevant), but haven’t so far.
    You really punctuate the argument to go vegan with the shower analogy. I had no idea, and I’m sure many others don’t as well.

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