Eat Less Meat and Dairy
The amount of meat and dairy we choose to eat greatly impacts the environmental footprint of our diet. By eating less, the average American could cut their food-related environmental impacts—to land, water, and greenhouse gas emissions—in half. Shifting your diet can have an added health bonus: consuming less red and processed meats has been found to decrease the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Shift from Eating Red to White Meat
You don’t have to give up meat altogether to have an impact. Simply shifting from red meat to white meat can be extremely helpful.
The water footprint of beef is four times greater than chicken
Eat chicken instead of beef once a week and save nearly 13,000 gallons of water (about 800 showers-worth) a year.
Beef has a carbon footprint five times greater than chicken
(and 20 times greater than beans), so this shift can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Choose Organic and Grass-Fed Meat
There’s no way around it: eating less beef is the best way to reduce your environmental footprint. If you still choose to enjoy beef, consider buying organic or grass-fed beef. Beef cattle raised on well-managed pastures are often better for wildlife and local watersheds than confined livestock feeding operations. Grass-fed beef tends to use arid land that couldn’t easily be used to grow other types of food.
Meat, dairy, and eggs certified with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic seal are produced with high health and welfare standards that require year-round access to the outdoors.