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30/05/2020

The Carbon Footprint of What You Eat

We have all learned about the concept of food chains, and food webs. The graph of which animals eat what, a typical food chain looks like this:

Grass ——> Deer ——> Lion.

Each of these animals is at a different trophic level, and essentially when one eats the other there is a transfer of energy taking place. This can be seen in an energy pyramid.

Human beings are omnivorous,we are capable of eating meat as well as plants, what we eat then becomes a matter of choice. Thus our diets determine the amount of energy utilized per plate. For example : a vegetarian/ vegan diet would be comparitively sustainable as lesser energy is used, than in a non-vegetarian diet. As in a non-veg diet, you have to grow the plants, feed it to the animals, and then eat it. Whereas in a vegetarian/vegan diet, you eat just the plants. Thus it takes twice as much energy to produce meat.

Meat is not the problem here, it is the very recent industrial production of meat, as so many animals are reared just to be someones food. A lot of space and food is used too “produce” these animals. On top of that animals are pumped with antibiotics, and hormones according to what the consumers prefer to eat. So the next time you a buy a packet of meat in the super market, think of how it would affect your body, what the animal had been through to be in that packet, and what the environment went through.

CATTLE AND CARBON

Beef is one of the most popular meats in this world, but what most people don’t know how eating beef helps with the greenhouse effect, and global warming. There are thousands of cattle farms existing around the world, and all of them hotspots for producing methane. How are cows and methane connected? Well cows burp out methane constantly, and methane is a very strong greenhouse gas, one molecule of methane is almost equivalent to 23 molecules of carbon dioxide, and if you compare that to the scale of which beef is produced in the world, the number is phenomenal. Also a cattle ranching takes a lot of space and is the no. 1 reason for deforestation in the amazon rainforest. This leads to loss of diversity and oxygen. So the simple decision of not eating beef and switching to even chicken can reduce your carbon footprint.

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