Meat and Climate Chaos

“We are, quite literally, gambling with the future of our planet- for the sake of hamburgers.” -Pete Singer


I often get asked why I became vegan.

Inquiries into my vegan origin story almost always occur over a meal. Therefore, I sanded my answer down to the smooth phrase, “for the animals and for the planet.”

(You’ll note that I declined to mention my health. A plant-based diet is considerably healthier than one with animal products. However, last night, I ate tortilla chips over the sink for dinner, so throw me into the sea).

The first reason I became vegan was to reduce the needless suffering of animals. As I researched further, I realized with horror that our modern meat-consumption is killing our planet. 


Recently, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report connecting the meat on our plates to ultimate planetary destruction.  As the report indicates, both the burning of fossil fuels for energy and animal agriculture are two of the biggest contributors to global warming.

Globally, fossil fuel-based energy is responsible for about 64% of human greenhouse gas emissions, with animal agriculture at about 18%.  Of course, converting our fossil-fuel based energy system to a sustainable renewable system is a top priority to curb climate destruction.

Not to be undervalued, however, is the incredible impact we can have on looming planetary death if we just cut our animal consumption.

Photo by One Green Planet

Here is a parade of horribles about the meat and dairy industries: 

It’s very scary. You should feel scared.


So what can we do?!

A plant-based diet is a major way to fight against climate change. It’s not the only thing we have to do, but it would be a huge step towards saving our planet.

More than recycling.

More than riding your bike.

More than replacing plastic straws.

The reason is this- it is simply more efficient to grow a crop and eat it, than it is to grow a crop, feed it to an animal, grow that animal, and then eat that animal.

It would be like  – now hear me out on this – if we dug thousands of feet underground to unearth ancient, decayed organic matter, once powered by the sun, and then BURNT that matter to get energy, when we could just harness energy directly from the sun! 


As consumers, we shape the world around us.  Three times a day, we have a choice to vote for our future.  When we buy animal products, not only do we impose a death sentence upon those animals, we impose that same death sentence upon our only home.


It’s a bold move to live life outside of how you’ve been programmed or told to. 

I applaud everyone who has decided to make changes for the benefit of our earth, but there is always more that can be done, a step farther, a change that NEEDS to be done.

The answers to climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, species decline, and other environmental problems don’t lie solely in the hands of self-serving governments and multinational corporations.  It lies partially on your plate.  You can start changing the world immediately, by simply deciding to change your diet.

This is compelling, liberating, hopeful.

79-TYH_1342 (1)

Photo by Ty Hyten

If you’re still with me here, first of all, congrats.  I challenge you to try something different tomorrow.  Maybe choose a meat-free meal, explore your options, do some research.  There is nothing negative about changing something for the benefit of something much larger than you.

If the leftover juice from beans can turn into a macaron, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.





  1. Susan, check out WongWay brunch every Sunday at Alternation Brewing. Bet you won’t miss eggs when you taste their breakfast.


    • Haha Malina I am 1000 miles from Denver Colorado… And being a solitary individual I don’t go out for many restaurant meals. I am aware of many other choices I could make a breakfast but eggs are a central proteins source…Inexpensive, easy to store, easy to prepare, and easy to digest! I have made the move towards purchasing only happy hen eggs, as I call them. This time of the year in the Midwest, they are fairly easy to find locally raised in the pastures of southern Illinois!


  2. To say this is compelling is to say the very least! Thanks for the information and thanks for your time and effort to help educate all of us on this topic. I first read some of this in 1976 when I picked up diet for a small planet… I think maybe I’ve been thinking about it a little too long ! I share your concern for compassionate treatment of animals and general environmental good behavior but I haven’t gotten past how I’m going to live without over easy eggs!


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