“While most Americans are not interested in a meat-free lifestyle, meat is clearly moving away from the center of the plate. More non-vegetarians than ever are introducing ‘meatless nights’ into their meal plans and cutting down on meat portion sizes.
“[...] if the entire country eliminated meat from its diets for just one night a week, it would have an environmental effect equivalent to taking ’30 to 40 million cars off the road for a year.’ [...]
“Some people call this a ‘flexitarian’ diet because people eat more balanced proportions of vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains, meats and fish. Some flexitarians might restrict meat to one meal a day. Others might eat a vegetarian diet during the summer when a bounty of local fruits and vegetables are available, then eat more meat during the winter.” (source)
Meat reduction is a great first step. But if it ends there, we’ve still got major problems. Let me explain the environmental issue with an analogy:
I live in a community with shared landscaping. We have a park area with a large patch of grass. Watering that area is costing us tens of thousands of dollars a year. So, our community is going to convert some of the grass to drought tolerant landscaping. The thing is, this isn’t going to actually reduce our water bill because the cost of water is still increasing. So, we’re cutting back on watering, but our pocketbooks won’t notice a difference. The only way we’d see a real, significant difference is if we converted all or nearly all of the grass to xeriscape.
It’s the same with the human population. Reducing meat consumption from seven days a week to six may well reduce air and water pollution, but our population is increasing so rapidly that this meat consumption reduction isn’t nearly enough to have a tangible, long-term effect in preventing climate change. It’s simply a stop-gap measure that will only work for a short time. Soon enough we’ll have to take more drastic measures.
It’s time people got real, got honest, and got vegan. It’s a truly sustainable solution.