America: The country where people are applauded for eating a 72-ounce steak in one sitting. The country where, in the name of competition, people wolf down 79 hot dogs in 10 minutes. The country that celebrates a national holiday by cooking a 20-pound bird that no one ever finishes.
There’s no denying that a steak is delicious. And it’s certainly okay by us to indulge during Thanksgiving. But it’s a fact that Americans are over-proteined. We eat more meat than nearly every other population on the planet. And even though the American Heart Association recommends eating less than six ounces per day of meat, many of us eat double that amount — putting us at a much higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
But not only does eating too much meat takes a toll on the body, it’s also bad for the planet. Did you know that meat production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — more than all forms of transportation combined? Or that wild animals such as wolves, elk and prairie dogs are threatened because we eat so much meat?
That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity has launched a new campaign called Take Extinction Off Your Plate that urges the public to eat less meat in order to save wildlife, habitats, water resources, air quality and the climate.
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According to the organization, if Americans eliminated meat for a single night a week, that’s the same as taking 30 to 40 million cars off the road for a year. If we reduced our meat consumption by one-third, it would have the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 2,700 fewer miles and saving 340,667 gallons of water per year. The good news is that meat consumption is already down — we’re wising up about how unhealthy it is to eat so much, and we are buying less due to rising beef, poultry and pork prices, the New York Times reports.
For anyone interested in taking the pledge, you can sign up here. And in the meantime, does anyone feel like loading up on some broccoli?