EARTH RISING: Eating less meat is simple, easy way to combat climate change

By DENNY KUBAL, guest columnist

Most of us can see the destruction to our planet from climate change and want to do something to help save the planet.

But a lot of solutions seem too expensive, or too complicated. What is a simple way to make a real meaningful difference? One of the easiest and simplest solution is just to eat less meat and more organic, plant-based foods.

I know some of you are thinking ‘There is no way I’m giving up meat and becoming a vegetarian.’ Becoming vegan is not necessary to make a real difference. How hard would it be for you and your family to not eat meat one day a week? A meatless Monday perhaps?

Every person who observes a meatless Monday can reduce their carbon footprint by eight pounds per day, which is as much as not driving for two days. This could save 28 land animal and 175 aquatic animals per year. I was amazed at just how much difference I could make with just giving up meat one day a week. It is a pretty easy and meaningful way to help.

Perhaps you’ve been thinking of buying a hybrid, but just can’t afford it right now and you still would like to help reduce your carbon footprint. A family of four switching to eight vegan meals a week would be the equivalent of switching from a regular car to a hybrid. You and your family can make a huge difference right now!

You can even go further if you go organic. Organic farming uses about 45 percent less energy than conventional crop production. Of course if you are able to buy locally from our farmers markets or food stands it’s even better because you are saving the carbon footprint associated with transport.

My wife and I are trying to go meatless two days a week. We started out with just giving up beef. For every pound of beef production, 65 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions are produced. It’s easy as the groceries carry a large variety of meat substitutes.

I’d urge you to consider starting with just a couple meals a week and perhaps just giving up beef. If this works for you and your family, you can move on to even less meat. You’ll be doing something meaningful, no matter how many meatless days you are able to do.

Denny Kubal of Brown County submitted this information on behalf of Earth Rising, a local group with the mission “to learn and share how to tread lightly on the Earth.” Earth Rising can be reached at judithaeast@gmail.com.