This Thanksgiving the 88% of Americans who choose a traditional turkey dinner will be eating a climatarian meal. And 79% are keen to eat up the leftovers, making their waste-saving meals over the Thanksgiving weekend even more climate-friendly.
Turkey – and chicken and pork – are five times less damaging to the climate than beef and lamb (see graphs below). Americans who pledge to eat climatarian meals throughout the year could cut their carbon footprint by a tonne and make a significant contribution to tackling climate change, says Climates social network.
Source: Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK, Peter Scarborough et al., Oxford University, 2014.
A climatarian is somebody who chooses their food with the climate in mind and, in particular, replaces beef and lamb with pork or poultry to cut their carbon footprint by a tonne a year.
The climatarian diet was devised by Climates as an easy way for people to make a big impact. Director, Biba Hartigan, says, “Going climatarian is the easiest way for people to reduce their personal carbon footprint. You don’t have to change your lifestyle and it’s not all or nothing – you can still make a big difference if you do it half the time – it’s good for your health and can save you money too. This Thanksgiving is a great time to start.”
Professor Gidon Eshel of Bard College who features in Leonardo Di Caprio’s film Before the Flood agrees, “The simplest way to reduce your environmental impact significantly and enjoy immediate results is to abandon beef. Your land demands will drop to 2%, while your greenhouse gas footprint and water needs will immediately drop to 10% of current values. No other personal choice can have this huge impact. For example, switching to a Prius will likely get you from, say, 30MPG to 55MPG, cutting less than a half.”
Climates based the diet on a wealth of scientific research. Food is responsible for 24% of global greenhouse gases, about the same as all the emissions from electricity and heat (25%) and way more than from transport (14%). Beef and lamb have five times the climate impact of other meats because of the amount of land, energy and water needed to produce them and the emissions the livestock create.
Simply swapping beef and lamb for pork and poultry in your everyday meals cuts a tonne off your annual carbon footprint. That’s equivalent to the emissions from driving 3,500 miles or taking six short-haul flights.
Choosing high welfare, pasture raised, organic meat supports the best farming practices. Permanent organic pasture acts as a carbon sink to offset impacts from livestock.
Avoiding processed meat like bacon, sausage and burgers cuts emissions further and has additional health benefits, reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Cutting down on the amount of meat you eat overall brings more co-benefits for your health and the climate.
Find out more and pledge to go climatarian for your health and the climate at www.climatarian.com and watch your carbon savings grow day by day.
If you’re not ready to go the whole hog, you can simply pledge to host a climatarian dinner for Thanksgiving – 88% of you will be doing it anyway, you may as well get the credit for it. And if you’re loving your Thanksgiving leftovers, you can clock up even more carbon savings by pledging to avoid food waste.
Photo courtesy of Jennie-o under creative commons licence.