December 4, 2022


What would happen if the US didn’t eat meat for a year?

What would happen if the US didn’t eat meat for a year? According to Rachel Nuwer, if we stopped consuming red meat as a population, greenhouse gas emissions would reduce by 25%-33% and we would get back more than 8 billion acres of land for uses like wildlife and housing. But if something like this happened over a short period of time, there would be several negative impacts on the economy. There are places in the world that can only support livestock. Places where the earth cannot support the growth of crops. In addition to the environment and economy, there would be impacts on one’s health. If we all went vegetarian by 2050, Nuwer says there would be a “global mortality reduction by 6-10%”. Would the benefits of going “not meat” be worth the costs? What lengths would you go to, to preserve our world?


Plant Based Diets and Saving Our Planet

In my last youth voice post, I discussed a new plan that New York city schools were implementing into their school systems… Meatless Mondays! As I have continued my research on the topic of plant based diets, I have found much more to add to the benefits of eating in this new lifestyle. The first article I read was about how to become a vegetarian. It says that about six to eight million american adults eat no meat because of the wide variety of new food options as well as types of plant-based diets. Vegetarians consume more vitamins and consume less saturated fats and artificial flavors and colors; they are likely to have health benefits like lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a lower bmi which are associated with low risk for chronic diseases. What I also liked about this article was that it included the reasons why people choose not to eat plants based like nutrient deficiency and making switches from meat to processed food sources. But after each counter point, they used evidence to show that you can get all the proper nutrients from a plant based diet and more by being mindful of what we are putting in our bodies and limiting processed meals. 

The next article that I read was an article by the BBC about how going plant based can fight climate change. It discusses how the world could solve so many problems by going vegetarian, especially climate change. Something I found interesting was how Extreme weather has a big impact on quality of the land and livestock sustainability. Livestock growing and production contributes to almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. It also discusses the massive amounts of food waste shows how much we are over producing which contributes to climate change. The article also included an image of a chart explaining what portions of our food contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. It states that 26% of global carbon emissions come from food. 58% of those food emissions come from animal products and of those, 50% of animal products emissions come from beef and lamb production. The overall message of this article is that if humans want to save the planet, we must change the way we utilize our land and resources as well as our lifestyle choices. 

Finally the last article I read was 9 was veganism is helping the planet. It discusses how with the population growing, the demand for more food will increase; if we produce more meat, we will use up more resources and cause more greenhouse gases.  We are producing more crops for animals to consume than for humans to consume. The livestock are also taking up more of our water to water their food and for them to drink. The livestock is only taking up resources that could be used for humans to use and harms the environment. We as a society need to use the land more productively instead of raising livestock so that humans can live comfortably and more environmentally friendly.

Go Veggie for a Day

As climate change continues to be a major issue in our society, evidence is growing that being vegetarian can help save both our planet earth, as well as trillions of dollars. By replacing meat with vegetarian sources of protein, such as nuts, beans and lentils, we can overall reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Studies show that eating a vegetarian diet means 2.5 times less carbon emissions than a meat diet. 

It can be very difficult to transition into a committed vegetarian diet, however if everyone ate vegetarian for just one day a week, we would see many improvements in our climate. Kathy Freston previously published data about the impact of going vegetarian for a day. The data indicated that, “as a country eating vegetarian for one day, we would save 100 billion gallons of water, 1.5 billion pounds of crops that would otherwise be fed to livestock, 70 million gallons of gas, 3 million acres of land, 33 tons of antibiotics; 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages; and 4.5 million tons of animal excrement, which would eliminate almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.”

We know from these numbers that just one day’s adoption of a vegan diet can have a significant impact on the earth. With all of these positive impacts, a vegetarian diet for one day per week doesn’t seem too bad. If we stop being so oblivious and arrogant and start caring for our planet, then we will be able to see improvements in our earth’s climate.

A different Diet

 In this article about being a vegetarian, I got a deeper understanding of the pros of being a vegetarian. I find it hard that people can get enough protein in their bodies to live without eating meat. But now I realize that there is a list of benefits for being vegetarian. One of those benefits is that it helps out our environment. To process meat, it takes a lot of water and harmful chemicals that eventually make it into our atmosphere. Also by not eating meat, you do not contribute to animal cruelty that most of these animals have to endure. You can get a lot of protein from plant products and other non-meat foods.

I believe that the hardest part of becoming vegetarian is finding foods that supply you with a lot of proteins. I learned that meat is the most convenient protein source available. So finding other sources would be pretty hard. But after reading this article, it states that according to the “American Dietetic Association, a vegetarian diet provides all of the needed proteins and amino acids for your body”. Overgrazing livestock hurts the environment found unsuitable for farming. It harms the environment by erosion and farm runoff into the oceans/rivers. By having a lot of animals in one place, the ground gets compacted and disturbed which makes it unsuitable for farming. 

Your diet is a pretty important part of your lifestyle. Depending on what you do on a day to day basis your body may need different foods. Some people choose to become vegetarian, maybe for health reasons or by choice. The same goes for other diets. By reading these articles I learned the health benefits of different diets that I was not too familiar with. And I wanted to state some pros and cons of each

NYC Schools Go Meatless on Mondays!

In the CNN article New York public schools to have ‘Meatless Mondays’ starting this fall, written by Doug Criss, he discusses the new policy that was implemented to schools in NYC. This policy is similar to “Meatless Mondays”; schools changed the breakfast and lunch options served on Mondays to vegetarian meals. Mayor Bill de Blasio states that, “Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers’ health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions”. The main reason of implementing meatless Mondays into the public school system in NYC is about health and environmental preservation.

Eating a plant based diet lowers the risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. By implementing more earth grown foods into your diet and decrease your meat intake, you are adding protection to your bodily health. Reducing your meat intake can also have serious benefits to the environment as well. A study found that animal product production creates the most food related greenhouse gas emissions at 78% of the total agricultural emissions. If we as a society decrease the amount of meat we purchase and consume, greenhouse gas emissions would decrease globally. Although there has been pushback from parents and workers in the meat industry, many believe that it’s time to change the way we look at food and how food impacts our lives.

A quote from James Oddo, the Staten Island Borough President, says everything that needs to be said about why changing our diets is beneficial to our future survival. He says, “Look at the data. Look at the childhood obesity. Look at pre-diabetes diagnoses. Look at the fact that 65% of American kids age 12 to14 shows signs of early cholesterol disease. Then, perhaps you will embrace the fact that we can’t keep doing things the same way, including welcoming the idea of Meatless Mondays.” New York is the first of hopefully many states to implement Meatless Mondays into their school systems.

New York Public Schools To Have ‘meatless Mondays’ Starting This Fall

Doug Criss –

What would happen if we were all vegetarians?


Only 3.2% of the population of the US are vegetarians but what if that 3.2 turned into 100%? First of all, our greenhouse emissions would go down by a third. This is because of the gasses emitted by the production of food. We would also gain back a lot of land. Of the world’s 5 billion hectares, about 68% of it is used for livestock. This would put many people in the livestock industry out of business as well. It would decrease the mortality rate by 10%. Of course these are all hypothesis’ but are quite realistic. These were all found here: