To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan Ã¢â‚¬â€ a Camry, say Ã¢â‚¬â€ to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
[….]Perhaps the best hope for change lies in consumersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ becoming aware of the true costs of industrial meat production. Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you look at environmental problems in the U.S.,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Professor Eshel, Ã¢â‚¬Å“nearly all of them have their source in food production and in particular meat production. And factory farming is Ã¢â‚¬ËœoptimalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ only as long as degrading waterways is free. If dumping this stuff becomes costly Ã¢â‚¬â€ even if it simply carries a non-zero price tag Ã¢â‚¬â€ the entire structure of food production will change dramatically.Ã¢â‚¬Â