GreenTown Los Altos

Meat and the Environment


Aug 2011


Have you ever considered going meatless one (or more) nights/week? It may be worth considering because meat, especially the four legged types such as beef, lamb, and pork, require huge amounts of water, pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, and feed. Livestock also generates greenhouse gases and large amounts of toxic manure and wastewater that pollute groundwater, rivers, streams and, ultimately, the ocean.

Two comparisons put meat consumption into perspective:

  • Low-flow showerheads rain 2 gallons/minute on your head. By cutting your shower time from 8 minutes to 5, you could save 6 gallons of water per day. Multiply that by 365 and you will save 2,190 gallons of water in a year. It takes at least 2,464 gallons of water (conservative estimate) to produce one pound of California-raised beef.  So, by eating one less pound of beef per year, you’ll save water and feel less guilty about your long showers. Learn more about water and food.
  • Similarly, growing that same one pound of beef produces the same amount of Greenhouse Gases as driving 26 miles. Eating one less pound of beef is like getting free carbon credits for car trip that you need to make (although carpooling would be even better!).  Learn more about food and climate change.

One Response to “Meat and the Environment”

  1. Peter Ruddock

    You should, of course, say “industrial meat”. The comparison is not true for pasture raised meat, which in the best of cases can not only have a very small carbon footprint, but can be beneficial to the earth. Great sources of pastured raised meat in the Bay Area include Marin Sun Farms, Morris Ranch, TomKat Ranch and Paicines Ranch.

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