Producing meat to eat is not the best idea for the planet. This is because producing 100 calories of a plant involves soil, fertilizer, water, and labor. But producing 100 calories of, say, pork, has a larger environmental cost. The pig needs to be fed with many more calories of plant matter than it produces in the finished product. The plants often need to be transported with fossil fuels.
Full disclaimer: I’ve been vegetarian since forth grade. I don’t really remember what meat tastes like, and I don’t crave it. Like, ever. So don’t want to moralize or act like it should be easy to change. Food cravings are a really basic, visceral thing. I don’t think I have any right to tell anyone “lol no it’s so easy just give up meat hehe” because my experience is different than everyone else’s.
That said, I’ve had this conversation about a million times:
Me: Yeah, I’m actually vegetarian!
Other person: Wow! I could never give up meat. I love bacon/chicken nuggets/sushi toooo much.
I heard a twist on this at a recent sustainability conference. An older professor was talking about food choices that are better for the environment. He added:
“I could never give up meat. I love meat. However… I do think everyone should go vegan for lunch. It would be healthier.”
So how’s that for a neat meatless solution? Again, it may not be feasible for everyone, but if you’re a college kid on a meal plan like me, it’s often pretty easy to pick up a delicious-ish vegan option for lunch. Or you can try my timeless classic meal: Vegetables and Rice With Sriracha Sauce. It’s not just full of fiber and nutrients, it’s tastes like a delicious lunchtime exorcism.
PS: Although the point of this is mostly to reduce carbon emissions and waste, I think you should at least be aware of what “intensive animal farming” means if you are an omnivore