Are you being greenwashed?

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Are you being greenwashed?

Jasmin over at Making Hay just posted a link to “Greenwashed“, an article about local food and meat consumption. It’s a really good look at how even locally raised meat is not sustainable (and actually could be worse in terms of greenhouse gas emissions).

Even grass-fed beef produces greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane and nitrogen. Also, there is absolutely no way that we could feed our current meat habit on locally raised, grass-fed beef. We simply don’t have enough land to do that.

Animals allowed to move around expend more calories and thus consume more resources than those crammed into tiny crates and cages. Chickens not pumped full of antibiotics and genetically manipulated to reach optimal slaughter weight at 6-1/2 weeks take longer to raise — and consume more food in the process. Cows raised on pasture produce more methane (a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide) than those crammed into feedlots.

Plant-based agriculture is clearly much healthier for the earth, and thinking locally is only part of the equation: We also need to act globally. Nostalgic calls for a return to the perceived quaintness of days gone by are unrealistic, given the population explosion we’ve experienced.

Twenty-first century solutions require that we look forward, not backward. It’s time for well-intentioned environmentalists to stop looking for loopholes and embrace the necessity of a paradigm shift toward a plant-based diet.

Read through the article and please do as Jasmin suggests: “forward it to everyone you’ve ever met in your entire life.”



July 10, 2009 at 10:54 am

Can you please provide some sources for the claims you’re making? I’m not being smart-alecky, I’m actually interested for my research. Need some backup for the claim that even “happy” meat is detrimental to the environment.


July 10, 2009 at 11:22 am

The “Greenwashed” article I linked to has references to the Carnegie Mellon report and the UN report, both of which have information about the environmental impacts of even the most free range meat. In general, if you want to let animals run around they eat more and use more land. Plus cows produce more methane when they eat grass than if they eat corn. You can find links to more information on our environment page:

And there is no such thing as “happy” meat. Slaughter is never “happy”.


July 11, 2009 at 11:37 am

Check out happy meat here:

All the animals are killed in the same industrialized slaughterhouses and they all face the same cruel end. If by happy meat you mean animals that are happy to have every single one of their family and friends killed and then to be killed themselves, then I guess you are eating “happy” meat. Happy meat, like Happy Meals is just another marketing jargon.

Whether or not the animals you eat lived a “happy” life has nothing to do with how much impact they have on the environment. We raise and kill 50 billion animals per year for food. That has a huge impact on the environment no matter how “happy” the animals may be. Rainforests still are cleared to make flat land for cows to graze in. The animals still produce a huge amount of feces and urine, they still need to be transported to slaughter, the slaughterhouses are a huge waste of resources and energy. Tons of blood and heads and eyeballs are still dumped into the land and waters. And if the parts are rendered, more trucks are needed to transport them to the rendering plant which uses huge amounts of energy.

Reducing consumption by eating lower in the food chain is the only way you are going to effectively reduce your footprint. Eating “happy” meat is not the answer.

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