EarthSave International -- Healthy People Healthy Planet
Find Us On Facebook Find Us On Twitter

EarthSave News
EarthSave promotes a shift toward a healthy plant-based diet.
Vol 19 No. 5
October 2008

Going Veggie Can Slash Your Carbon Footprint: Study

Giving up meat could drastically reduce your carbon footprint, with meat-eaters’ diets responsible for almost twice the emissions of those of vegetarians, a German study said.

A diet with meat is responsible for producing in a year the same amount of greenhouse gases as driving a mid-sized car 4,758 kilometres (2,956 miles), the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IOeW) said.

But the food a vegetarian consumes in 12 months is responsible for generating the same emissions as driving 2,427 kilometres, the IOeW said in a study commissioned by independent consumer protection group Foodwatch.

The calculations are based on emissions of greenhouse gases, including methane produced by the animals themselves, as well as emissions from food production including manufacturing feed and fertiliser and the use of farmland.

Going vegan -- giving up meat and dairy products -- would cut the emissions released in making what you eat more than seven-fold, to the equivalent of driving 629 kilometres, it said.

And if it is all organic, your food footprint is almost a 17th of that of a meat-eater -- the equivalent of driving 281 kilometres.

Beef is particularly environmentally unfriendly, it said, with producing a kilo (2.2 pounds) the same as driving 71 kilometres compared with 26 kilometres for pork.

Switching to organic farming can cut emissions dramatically, “but what counts is the way we feed ourselves ... production and consumption first and foremost of beef and milk must be cut drastically,” the study said.

Heavy People to Feel Lighter Wallets with Alabama Surcharge

Alabama, pushed to second in national obesity rankings by deep-fried Southern favorites, is cracking down on state workers who are too fat.

The state has given its 37,527 employees a year to start getting fit — or they’ll pay $25 a month for insurance that otherwise is free.

Alabama will be the first U.S. state to impose a surcharge on overweight state workers who do not work on slimming down. A handful of other states reward employees who adopt healthy behaviors.

Alabama already charges workers who smoke — and has seen some success in getting them to quit — but now has turned its attention to a problem that plagues many in the U.S. South: obesity.

The State Employees’ Insurance Board this week approved a plan to charge state workers starting in January 2010 if they don’t have free health screenings.

If the screenings turn up serious problems with blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose or obesity, employees will have a year to see a doctor at no cost, enroll in a wellness program, or take steps on their own to improve their health.

If they show progress in a follow-up screening, they won’t be charged. But if they don’t, they must pay starting in January 2011.

“We are trying to get individuals to become more aware of their health,” said state worker Robert Wagstaff, who serves on the insurance board.

Government statistics show Alabamians have a big weight problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.3% are now obese, ranking the state behind only Mississippi.