Adding veggies to your diet helps cut global warming

May 10, 2013 by Blaine Friedlander

If the carnivorous U.S. population – as a whole – ate a more-vegetarian diet that included egg and milk products, the environment would be greatly relieved, says a preliminary Cornell study.

Far fewer acres of land would be needed to support the diet, and much less nitrogen would pour into the environment, says life-cycle engineer Christine Costello, a postdoctoral researcher in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology. She will soon be a faculty member at the University of Missouri.

"Before, we knew that our diets were connected to the environment and our land use. Now, we have explicit links, as we can calculate and corroborate inputs like fertilizers, nitrous oxide and we can obtain more accurate numbers. It is important to demonstrate how drive environmental impacts, and this project is explicitly defining those connections," says Costello.

"A decrease in the proportion of meat, dairy and eggs in the average would be better for our health and better for our planet as a whole," says Costello. "Perhaps as scientists, we can find data that helps societal behavior influence environmental policy."

In a multidisciplinary project funded by Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Costello presented preliminary results from her study, "Does a Help Lead to a Healthy Environment?," at a meeting of Atkinson Center scientists in April. Costello collaborated with Robert Howarth, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Ian Merwin, professor of horticulture; Laurie Drinkwater, professor of horticulture; and Christina Stark and Jennifer Wilkins, both senior extension associates in nutrition.

Land use in an 's diet dwarfs the ovo-lacto vegetarian's diet, she reported. A typical U.S. omnivore annually eats food that takes 3,370 square meters to produce against a vegetarian's mere 890 square meters of annual production. Of those 3,370 square meters, 2,950 square meters of agricultural land is needed annually to nourish and house such farm animals as cows, pigs and sheep, while approximately 270 is needed to support ovo-lacto vegetarians.

For nitrogen inputs into agricultural soil, the omnivorous annually results in almost double (22 kilograms of reactive nitrogen) the input of a (12 kilograms), based on preliminary results. This reflects the large fertilizer and nitrogen inputs associated with producing grain and forage crops for livestock.

Furthermore, Costello is working to estimate the impact of food waste; the USDA reports that 51 percent of dairy products, 54 percent of fruits, 47 percent of vegetables, 35 percent of poultry and 20 percent of beef are wasted in the United States at the consumer level. And U.S. consumers eat far more protein – at an environmental global cost – than needed. Protein availability is approximately 110 grams per capita per day – more than twice the recommended level of consumption for optimal nutrition, with more than 60 percent of protein provided by animal products.

Says Costello: "This excess food consumption wastes energy, and spoiled food wastes energy. Changing our diets and changing our consumer habits could significantly reduce nutrient inputs, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural land use and cause positive health impacts."

Explore further: Pharmaceuticals and the water-fish-osprey food web

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User comments : 29

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casualjoe
3.4 / 5 (5) May 10, 2013
There are few things as fun as cooking tasty vegetarian food.
vlaaing peerd
3 / 5 (6) May 10, 2013
Eggs make you fart, was methane and sulfur excretion calculated into this equation?

A little more OT, it shouldn't take a scientist to know that decreasing meat consumption and foodwaste helps. The amount of food you need to put in a cow before he's ready to be slaughtered is enough to feed 15x as many people as the yield of its meat alone. Count in the amount of soy needed to feeds world's livestock and know that it's mostly the rainforests that are cut down to find room to plant the soy...and you got the perfect recipe for yet another planetwaster.
deatopmg
2.2 / 5 (17) May 10, 2013
"Adding veggies to your diet helps cut global warming" is based on the fact that CO2 is assumed to be THE major contributing factor to global warming in spite of the fact there STILL little hard data, just lots of conjecture and hand wringing. Pathetic!

@casualjoe - "There are few things as fun as cooking tasty vegetarian food." unless it happens to be a juicy piece of meat.

casualjoe
3 / 5 (5) May 10, 2013
dtpmg - Maybe. Eat it less often and you'll enjoy it even more.
deepsand
3.4 / 5 (15) May 10, 2013
"Adding veggies to your diet helps cut global warming" is based on the fact that CO2 is assumed to be THE major contributing factor to global warming in spite of the fact there STILL little hard data, just lots of conjecture and hand wringing.[/quote]
When are you going to stop perpetrating this falsehood?

Pathetic!

Most true of your post.
VendicarE
3.7 / 5 (9) May 11, 2013
In fact the data is unassailable, and the warming due to enhanced CO2 is proven every day by children doing experiments to confirm the science.

"in spite of the fact there STILL little hard data" - DeaTard

DeaTard is mentally ill.

deepsand
3.1 / 5 (15) May 11, 2013
Eggs make you fart, was methane and sulfur excretion calculated into this equation?

Bit players in climate.
Moebius
4.1 / 5 (9) May 11, 2013
How about eating climate change deniers?
deepsand
3.5 / 5 (16) May 11, 2013
How about eating climate change deniers?

I understand that they're not only low in nutritional value but difficult to digest.

alfie_null
4 / 5 (2) May 11, 2013
It would be interesting to explore different people's affinity to meat. After a childhood and part of my adult life eating meat, I stopped. That was many years ago. It was no big deal. Yet it's clear this would be an enormously difficult undertaking for some people. What gives people an affinity for meat and why does it affect people to different degrees? Sense of taste? Culture? What you ate as a child? Local environment? etc.
arq
5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2013
People worried about farts can skip the egg and consume vegetables and diary :) If you are lactose intolerant you can skip dairy and eat vegetables and eggs instead or eat only vegetables. You can mix and match however you see fit.

Thats the thing about vegetarianism, you have alot of choice......its like android :)
antigoracle
1.9 / 5 (15) May 11, 2013
In fact the data is unassailable, and the warming due to enhanced CO2 is proven every day by children doing experiments to confirm the science.

"in spite of the fact there STILL little hard data" - DeaTard

DeaTard is mentally ill.

-- VendicarTurd
Vendi must have been the inpiration for this.
"He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more."
― P.G. Wodehouse
deepsand
3.1 / 5 (17) May 11, 2013
In fact the data is unassailable, and the warming due to enhanced CO2 is proven every day by children doing experiments to confirm the science.

"in spite of the fact there STILL little hard data" - DeaTard

DeaTard is mentally ill.

-- VendicarTurd
Vendi must have been the inpiration for this.
"He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more."
― P.G. Wodehouse

This from one fascinated with fecal matter. :rolleyes:

Does your mommy know that you eat your own waste?

antigoracle
2 / 5 (12) May 11, 2013
In fact the data is unassailable, and the warming due to enhanced CO2 is proven every day by children doing experiments to confirm the science.

"in spite of the fact there STILL little hard data" - DeaTard

DeaTard is mentally ill.

-- VendicarTurd
Vendi must have been the inpiration for this.
"He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more."
― P.G. Wodehouse

This from one fascinated with fecal matter. :rolleyes:

Does your mommy know that you eat your own waste?


And so it proves me right.
deepsand
3.3 / 5 (16) May 11, 2013
In fact the data is unassailable, and the warming due to enhanced CO2 is proven every day by children doing experiments to confirm the science.

"in spite of the fact there STILL little hard data" - DeaTard

DeaTard is mentally ill.

-- VendicarTurd
Vendi must have been the inpiration for this.
"He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more."
― P.G. Wodehouse

This from one fascinated with fecal matter. :rolleyes:

Does your mommy know that you eat your own waste?


And so it proves me right.

Non sequitur.
Moebius
3.7 / 5 (3) May 12, 2013
How about eating climate change deniers?

I understand that they're not only low in nutritional value but difficult to digest.



They shouldn't be, they have a high percentage of insoluble fiber.
ValeriaT
1.6 / 5 (5) May 12, 2013
You may think twice, why people in hostile areas (Sahara desert, tundra) do prefer pasturage over farming. It's because it's most effective way of getting proteins from live environment. The cultural plants need lotta water and their palatable protein content is low. For example, for production of rice it's required 2552 m³ of water/ ton rice, whereas for production of one ton of poultry 3809 m³ of water its required. Therefore the consumption of poultry may sound like ineffective waste of water for someone - but the content of proteins in rice is ten times lower, than in chicken meat! I even suspect, farming is more ecological then the agriculture as a whole, providing it doesn't use agricultural products (which usually does unfortunately because of intensification of production).
ValeriaT
1.7 / 5 (3) May 12, 2013
Plant-based diets come with many benefits: Prevent and cure disease and reduce medication intake all through diet
The Inuits who live from meat nearly exclusively weren't extraordinarily unhealthy, until the environmental pollution didn't contaminate their food with mercury and chlorinated phenols. This study links the Inuit's game rich diet to "remarkable" protection against heart disease and prostate cancer", for example. So please, think again before you apply all these well intended and "naturally looking" advices of what the environmentally viable and healthy food actually is.
deepsand
3.5 / 5 (13) May 12, 2013
How about eating climate change deniers?

I understand that they're not only low in nutritional value but difficult to digest.



They shouldn't be, they have a high percentage of insoluble fiber.

Which inhibits digestion, is itself indigestible, and, in high enough amounts, promotes diarrhea.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (10) May 13, 2013

Which inhibits digestion, is itself indigestible, and, in high enough amounts, promotes diarrhea.

And thus the existence of AGW Alarmist Turds like deepsand
deepsand
3.5 / 5 (13) May 13, 2013

Which inhibits digestion, is itself indigestible, and, in high enough amounts, promotes diarrhea.

And thus the existence of AGW Alarmist Turds like deepsand

TROLL CRAP
Neinsense99
3.5 / 5 (8) May 30, 2013
How about eating climate change deniers?

"SoilIt Greedy is made of Teabaggers!"
Neinsense99
3.3 / 5 (7) May 30, 2013

Which inhibits digestion, is itself indigestible, and, in high enough amounts, promotes diarrhea.

And thus the existence of AGW Alarmist Turds like deepsand

How convenient! I don't even have to downvote that, as it already has a 1 star rating. Have a nice day. :)
antigoracle
1 / 5 (9) May 30, 2013

Which inhibits digestion, is itself indigestible, and, in high enough amounts, promotes diarrhea.

And thus the existence of AGW Alarmist Turds like deepsand

TROLL CRAP

deepsand confirming what he is.
deepsand
3.8 / 5 (10) May 30, 2013

Which inhibits digestion, is itself indigestible, and, in high enough amounts, promotes diarrhea.

And thus the existence of AGW Alarmist Turds like deepsand

TROLL CRAP

deepsand confirming what he is.

Another steaming heap from Anal Orifice.
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (2) May 30, 2013
There are few things as fun as cooking tasty vegetarian food.


Even granting that you may enjoy being a chef, while tasty vegetarian food is, well, "tasty", there are COUNTLESS things more fun than the act of cooking it.

Put down the Ghee and get out more!
antigoracle
1 / 5 (8) May 31, 2013

Which inhibits digestion, is itself indigestible, and, in high enough amounts, promotes diarrhea.

And thus the existence of AGW Alarmist Turds like deepsand

TROLL CRAP

deepsand confirming what he is.

Another steaming heap from Anal Orifice.

deepsand confirming the source of his existence.
deepsand
4.1 / 5 (9) Jun 01, 2013
Wherein Potty Mouth confirms his inability to compose better than a non sequitur retort.
Neinsense99
5 / 5 (4) Jun 05, 2013
People worried about farts can skip the egg and consume vegetables and diary :) If you are lactose intolerant you can skip dairy and eat vegetables and eggs instead or eat only vegetables. You can mix and match however you see fit.

Thats the thing about vegetarianism, you have alot of choice......its like android :)

What's the point of keeping a diary(sic) if you periodically eat it? ;)