Beyond Earth Hour: A planet at “steak”
Sunday, 23 March 2008
News Release: The Toronto Vegetarian Association calls for greater spotlight on reducing meat consumption in the fight against climate change.
TORONTO – With the advent of Earth Hour, led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), on March 29, the connection between energy consumption and climate change will be even harder to ignore. The Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA), like WWF, actively promotes smaller carbon footprints and better environmental choices. However, we believe the link between climate change and meat consumption needs much greater public attention and action.
“Just as turning off the lights or reducing car usage helps, eating more vegetarian meals and less meat also benefits the environment”, says Stephen Leckie of TVA. “In less than 60 minutes people can indulge their taste buds and help the environment simply by opting for a vegetarian meal.”
TVA wants meat consumption to become a higher priority environmental issue given its proven link to climate change. A growing body of research supports the grave environmental costs of meat production:
- Raising livestock for food emits more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s cars and trucks.
- The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization calls the meat industry “one of the most significant contributors to the world’s environmental problems,” including acid rain, deforestation and water and land pollution.
- Going vegetarian would eliminate 1.5 tons of CO2 equivalent gas emissions per person, per year – an even bigger difference than switching from a SUV to a hybrid.
- Livestock production accounts for 30 percent of the entire land surface of the planet! 33 percent of all arable land is used to grow crops fed to animals, and an even larger area is devoted to grazing.
TVA receives regular testimonials from people who are concerned about the environment and are now either reducing or completely eliminating meat in their diets. They typically find the food selection is much broader than they had imagined.
“There seems to be a strange perception that doing something good for the environment means sacrifice and a vegetarian diet means less choice,” Leckie explains. “But, that’s just not true.”
To prove his point, Leckie points to the over 3,000 vegetarian and vegan recipe books and other resources listed on Amazon.ca. TVA’s website, veg.ca, lists 66 restaurants in the Toronto Area that are entirely vegetarian, and includes other helpful resources to support a greener lifestyle.
For more information see:
Factsheet: Meat production and climate change
Toronto Vegetarian Association