By Sarah Albert
Americans consume an extreme quantity of meat per year. Last year, the US average beef consumption was 24.1 billion pounds. This meat production takes a toll on the environment in significant way. Cows are the leading producers of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. The land and resources used in the livestock production and upkeep is not sustainable. To make a quarter pound hamburger, it takes 74.5 sq ft for grazing and growing crops for feed. 52.8 gallons of water are required for the task, as well as significant fossil fuel energy for feed production and transportation of the meat. There is also a misconception as to how much protein is really necessary for optimal nutrition, and Americans take in almost twice the recommended amount of protein. This being, said, the switch to vegetarianism and veganism is not something so far-fetched anymore. Many are making the switch to meatless diets. Though one individual refusing to eat meat will not reverse immediate environmental issues facing the nation and the world, it does make a statement. Some refuse to eat meat for the sake of refusing to support the compa- nies and the industries involved in production and the environmental consequences associated. Others hope that if enough people join in avoiding meat, it will ultimately help to reduce the dangers global warming and unsustainability pose. Vegetarianism and veganism are measures an individual can take to be more green! Veganism is vegetarianism to the next level, refusal to eat any animal products (including dairy, eggs, honey, etc.). Veganism is trending much more these days due to many celebrities’ decisions to go animal product free. Vegetarian and vegan restaurants have been opening more frequently due to recent increases in dietary decisions to avoid meat, especially in more metropolitan areas. Vegetarianism is not as dif cult as it may seem, and even reducing meat consumption to 4 times per week rather than 6 or seven can make an impact for the better.