Turns out the Chic-fil-a cows aren’t just trying to save their own lives. Their secret mission is to save the planet. Surprisingly, the livestock industry accounts for 18% of greenhouse emissions. “Holy crap,” I think as I read the report, and then I read further. “Most of this comes from manure.” Holy crap, indeed.
But that’s not the only environmental side effect of our love affair with beef. Thirty percent of the earth’s land surface is for cow grazing. Seventy percent of Amazon forests have been flattened to make room for our beef habit. Let’s not talk water.
All this is enough to drive me to vegetables for a whole weekend (which happens to coincide with our anniversary). Breakfast and lunch are easy enough. For our anniversary dinner, we try Japanese for its infinite meatless and dairy less options. Sunday night, we make spinach and red pepper pasta with a chunky tomato sauce. The meal is so satisfying; we make an extra for a night when our desire to eat quickly would mean a dash to a burger joint.
Now that I’ve examined our food habits, I want to do more then limit our household’s consumption of meat. I usually buy produce from all over the world, but local farms deliver so I sign up. This will challenge me. Raw tomatoes gross me out, and they have dozens of varieties. But I don’t want to inhale so much cow-flatulence-produced methane so I’ll chase those tomatoes with a spoonful of sugar.
Come along for the ride and subscribe to a local farm at www.localharvest.org/csa!
- Rosie Molinary, the author of Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, lives in Davidson, North Carolina.