Are Vegetarians Hurting The Planet?

Posted: Dec 16 2015, 8:17am CST | by , Updated: Dec 16 2015, 9:54pm CST, in News | Latest Science News


Vegetarians are Hurting the Planet?
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  • Vegetarian Lifestyle does not Harm our Planet

It has been found that the vegetarian lifestyle does not harm our planet. The truth is far more complex than labeling vegetarianism as the culprit.

While the carnivorous pro-Atkins advocates may toot their horn a little too loudly, they ought to cool it for awhile.

A study, published in Environment Systems and Decisions, seemed to corroborate these meat eaters by saying that vegetarianism harms the planet. But this study has turned out to be biased. The whole shebang revolves around the fact that not all the foods in a food group are equal in value. 

Just like you cannot say that all the meat items in the world are bad for you, you cannot say that all the fruit, vegetable and whole grain items are good either.

It is not as simple as that. On an equal caloric basis, producing lettuce is worse than producing bacon. Such is the paradox of food politics. Lettuce growth creates more greenhouse gases. 

"Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon," said Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decisions sciences and engineering and public policy.

"Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken."

Speaking on a realistic basis, no vegetarian will be able to replace all the calories of bacon with calories from lettuce. This only makes sense. However, kale, broccoli, rice, potatoes, spinach and wheat come up short of pork on the GHG scale.  

As far as blue water usage is concerned, cherries, mushrooms and mangoes need much more water than meat products. However, to give the situation another twist, corn, peanuts, carrots and wheat use much less water than non-seafood meat products.

Thus vegetarianism is not necessarily bad for the environment of the planet, according to HuffingtonPost. However, the experts do say that not all plants are as environmentally friendly as all meat products.

The reality of the situation is such that it will take libraries to fill before it is exhausted. Both diet and the agricultural equations are extremely complex entities.  

Three schemata were examined. A reduced caloric regimen that followed the Standard American Diet (SAD) was one of them. Then there was a diet that didn’t reduce any calories but had all the proportions of food types recommended by the authorities.

Finally there was a diet that reduced the calories and was in accordance with the food types recommended by the USDA. The three diets were examined using certain markers which included: industrial use, blue water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The second diet was the worst for environmental health. Diet #3 was not so bad but still it was worse than diet #1. However, none of these three diets were vegetarian diets.

The increases in GHG levels for diets two and three was due to the recommendation by the USDA to consume seafood. And while some plants have higher environmental damage rates, the rates of others are relatively low.

So, indeed, some of the meat items are more environmentally friendly than your standard ration of veggies. But that is no reason to jump on board the vegan-bashing bandwagon. 

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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