Over-consumption of meat in the world

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What is carbon footprint?

The official definition is:

The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

So this includes:

  • the air we breathe out
  • the motor vehicles’ emissions
  • the cutting of trees down
  • the by-products of waste gas during the production of our goods or services
    • the meat and dairy that humans eat

We all knew that the meat and dairy we eat, the production of it, is one of the largest contributors to the production of greenhouse gases and the world’s growing carbon footprint.

It’s not news that meat and dairy are among the largest contributors to the world’s growing carbon footprint, but lamb, beef, cheese, pork, and farmed salmon, in particular, generate the most greenhouse gases—sometimes four times more than other animal products and 13 times more than plant-based proteins.

Yet, even with the rapid world population growth, the demand for meat had increased at an even faster rate.

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The total demand for meat in the world had increased by 325% from 1961 to 2011, even though the total amount of people had gone up from 3 billion in 1961 to 7 billion in 2011 (267%).

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The total meat consumption demand had increased by 653% in China (Population: 0.65 billion in 1961 to 1.35 billion in 2011), again higher than the rate of increase in population size.

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The percentage increase in the Hong Kong is by far the largest:  2364% increase in meat consumption from 3.2 million (1961) to 7.1 million (2011) people. The average meat consumption in Hong Kong is 695 grams / day, 32% of our total daily diet! It’s the highest in the world (the world average is only 9%!) This pattern of our diet had significantly increased Hong Kong’s carbon footprint.

Please see National Geographic for more details about What the World Eats, to see the world and each country’s changing patterns in Daily Diet patterns and Meat Consumption percentage.

From the Guardian article, study of British people’s diets – meat-rich diet of more than 100g per day, resulted in 7.2 kg of Carbon dioxide emissions. If in Hong Kong, where the meat consumption is almost 700g per day, this may result in almost seven times: back 50kg of Carbon dioxide emissions!

The production of 1 kg beef causes about 13.3 kg of CO2. The same quantity of CO2 is released when you burn about 6 liters of petrol!

ASSUMING if each day, every person in Hong Kong eats 695 g of beef, it will produce 9.3 kg of CO2! The same quantity of CO2 released when you burn 5 liters of petrol…

The production and consumption of beef produce more CO2 than driving cars.

As primary consumers, we all have a role. As humans, we have to think of our environmental consequences to our future generation. Though eating less of the delicious beef is easier said than done, sometimes, it’s important to think of the consequences of our actions.

Let’s start eating less beef, today!

 

References:

National Geographic – What the World Eats
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/what-the-world-eats/

The Guardian – Giving up Beef with reduce Carbon Footprint more than Cars
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/21/giving-up-beef-reduce-carbon-footprint-more-than-cars

Time for Change – Eat less meat: CO2 emission of our food
http://timeforchange.org/eat-less-meat-co2-emission-of-food

 

 

 

 

Realistic 5Rs

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Everyone had learned about the “R“s during the school days, but after graduating, most people had forgotten what they’ve learned. When going out to eat, drink, most people don’t regard their impact as a big problem, when in fact, each one of us on the Earth is contributing  to the environmental damage done. We’re just refusing to face the fact that we’re compromising our future.

To recap the “R”s we learned in primary and secondary school:

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle
  4. Replace
  5. *new* REFUSE.

The 5th R is REFUSE, it’s a newer R in this concept. A reminder that we should refuse the opportunity to act in an unenvironmentally-friendly way.

5. REFUSE disposable plastic

  • #BYOB Bring Your Own Bag. Bring Your Own Bottle. Bring Your Own Box.
  • Bring your own bag when you go shopping.
  • Bring your own bottle when you go out. You can ask shops to fill the drinks in your bottle/tumblers.
  • Bring your own box when you go out for dinner and you think there’s a possibility of leftovers. If your box is too heavy – www.lexlim.com can help you – they have 100% silicon boxes that are collapsible and lightweight!
  • Choose items that aren’t packed in plastic.

 

1. REDUCE usage of materials

  • Such as doing double-sided photocopying.
  • Sharing a tempo tissue with a few people to wipe your mouth after meals.

2. REUSE everything!

  • Not everything is one-use!
  • Buy reusable cups, plates.
  • Don’t use paper cups at water stations.

3. RECYCLE paper, bottles, metals

  • Recycle paper the clean way. Keep paper dry, no staplers, stred the paper first if it’s business-related confidental information.
  • Recycle water bottles! Of course minimize the opportunity of ever buying water bottles outside, but if you do, the least you can do is recycle them.
  • Put a recycle bag at home. Collect bottles and then take them to the recycle station once a few days.
  • Recycle your canned drinks at recycle station – same principle.

4. REPLACE with environmentally-friendly versions

  • Replace your plastic or paper cups with real ones – it’s not bad to invest in a durable and long-lasting one.
  • Use environmentally-friendly recycled paper instead of pure white paper. White paper sucks when the light reflects on it and the paper is so bright, anyway.

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The above image is to recap. #BYOB

  • When going for a takeaway, going out for dinner, bring out a box!
    • So you don’t need to buy styrofoam boxes.
      *Styrofoam plastic = nonbiodegradable. Plastic that stays on Earth forever (even until you die!)
    • Suggestion: Buy silicon collapsible lightweight food containers @lexngo (actually I’m not sponsored by them! Honestly I feel that it’s a waste they’re not as known as they should be. It’s a plastic revolution!)Untitled design.png
    • Bring Your Own Bottle!
      • It’s hot in the summer, yes. We like to drink fruit juices from shops, bubble tea, starbucks or whatever! We can bring our own bottle or tumblers to those shops! (If you’re a HongKonger check this Apple Daily article about #BYOB: link) Very environmentally-fashionable too!
      • Help remake a tumbler a trend! Remember Starbucks’s tumbler discount: if you use their tumbler you get a $3 discount! Think about all the money you can save with all the coffee everyone drinks every day (Interesting fact: The average Hong Konger drinks 2.2 kg of coffee in 2012 alone! Source)

All-in-all, being environmentally-friendly may seem like a bother to some. But as long as it’s grown into our daily routine and incorporated into our daily lifestyle, it’s just as easy as you get up in the morning (since you have to wake up and live on anyway, same principle)!

#BYOB Let’s prepare our Earth’s future together.

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