You Don’t Have to Go Plant-based to Save the World

There has been a lot of buzz recently about switching to a meatless or fully plant-based diet, not only for sustainability reasons but also for health benefits. Livestock production encompasses 14.5% of all human-related greenhouse gas emissions, with cattle making up for well over half of those emissions. Thus, eliminating the consumption of meat, or red meat specifically, to be more sustainable has been an easy push for climate change advocates. Additionally, a 2012 study revealed that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of certain chronic diseases, driving the movement against meat consumption.

However, the urge to completely eliminate meat from our diets is both quixotic and unwarranted. For anyone who enjoys eating meat and is considering eradicating it from their diet for health and or climate change reasons, you may be happy to hear that might not be the best solution.

Instead of forcing people to radically change their consumption habits, I argue that we should focus on sourcing meat sustainably and finding creative ways to reduce, but not eliminate, mass meat consumption through institutional food providers.