Could Switching from Beef to Beans End Our Environmental Worries?

Ecoanxiety: you may have never heard of it, but you’ve probably felt it.

In 2011, the American Psychological Association described this emerging condition as “the dread and helplessness that come with ‘watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations.” Not a pleasant sensation. Luckily, there are ways in which you can ease the pain of ecoanxiety and one of them is by changing what you eat.

Simple moves like taking animal protein out of your diet and replacing it with plant-based protein could have a huge impact on the environment.

Could Switching from Beef to Beans End Our Environmental Worries?

Why is Beef Bad for the Planet?

Well, farmers use one silo of soybeans to feed approximately 38,000 cattle for growth and fattening, which means dispensing 900 metric tons of the feed every day. That’s a lot of feed and a lot of cows!

In addition to this, feeding the beans to the cows is counterproductive, they will eat more calories in beans than they can produce in meat.

This highly inefficient process is happening on a huge scale. The United Nations have stated that 33% of arable land on Earth is used for growing feed for livestock and 26% of ice-free terrestrial surface of Earth is used for grazing livestock. Overall, almost a third of Earth’s land is used for the purpose of meat and animal by-products.

And the impact of this is concerning, 51% of the greenhouse gases, worldwide, are the responsibility of livestock and their byproducts.

What’s So Good About Beans?

Making the choice to eat beans rather than beef, could create a world of difference for yourself and the planet. Win win! If everyone in the USA made this one change, the country would potentially be 74% of their way to meeting their 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target.

Not only this, but it would reduce the amount of clearcutting of forests if we ‘cut out the middle cow’ and just ate the beans ourselves.

On top of this, you needn’t worry about ‘missing out’ on the protein in the beef.

In 4oz of ground beef, you acquire the same, amount of protein (24g) as you would if you were to eat 4oz of black beans. Plus, as an added bonus, the beans only contain 120 calories, where the beef holds 320 calories. The beans will also give you 9g in fibre, whilst the beef offers none.

So, not only would making the switch from beef to beans result in incredible health benefits, making this dietary change could also relieve you of ecoanxiety, at least to some degree. Now that’s food for thought.

Image credit: PCRM

Author: Eve Coates