If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains … the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.
Dave R., the founder and CEO of ClimatePath, recently wrote a post
questioning the environmental benefits of the Cash for Clunkers program. It
seems a lot of prospective car buyers are relieved that the Senate plans to
keep this program running through Labor Day, but those who really want to
help combat climate change should trade in hamburgers for veggie burgers and
chicken for chickpeas. This will have more of an impact than trading a
clunker for a fuel-efficient car. Consider this:
A 2006 United Nations report indicated that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, trains, ships, and planes in the world combined.
According to Environmental Defense, “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains … the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. If every American had one meat-free meal per week, it would be the same as taking more than 5 million cars off our roads. Having one meat-free day per week would be the same as taking 8 million cars off American roads.”
A University of Chicago study even showed that switching to a vegan diet is about 50 percent more effective in countering climate change than switching from a standard American car to a Prius.
In an effort to convince people to eat more all-vegetarian foods, PETA launched a lighthearted "Cash for Cluckers" program. For the first box of vegetarian chicken cutlets or nuggets that a non-vegetarian buys, PETA is offering a $1 rebate and a free "Vegetarian Starter Kit."
With the questionable eco-benefits of the Cash for Clunkers program—and the overwhelming evidence showing that the meat, egg, and dairy industries largely contribute to global warming—this may be a far better deal for the planet, not to mention for animals and people. After all, not everyone can afford to buy a hybrid or a higher-mileage car (even with a rebate), but most people can shell out a few bucks for chicken-free patties, or chickpeas.
Whether you participate in the Cash for Clunkers program or not, please keep in mind that your purchases at the grocery store can actually help the planet more than your purchases at the car dealership.
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