A) The change we are going to study is the environmental effects of going meatless one day a week for an average American Citizen.
a. It is sad to say, but however it has been found that meat consumption is a process that uses a highly intensive amount of the world’s resources and some may even consider it extremely wasteful. The water needs of livestock are astounding, far higher than those of vegetables or grains. An estimated1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into one pound of beef. Whereas soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound or a pound of wheat needs only 25 gallons of water. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein (Meatless 2011, p. 1). When directly comparing the amount of energy it takes to produce the same amount of vegetable protein as it does to produce meat protein, the results are staggering. An analogy for the amount of waste it takes to produce vegetable protein is like taking 16 plates of pasta, throwing 15 in the trash, and then eating just one plate of food. A comparison to eating meat would be leveling 55 square feet of rain forest for a single meal or dumping 2,400 gallons of water down the drain. Studies show that eating chickens, fish, turkeys, pigs, cows, milk, or eggs is something almost everyone does that wastes resources and destroys our environment. Researchers at the University of Chicago revealed that switching from a standard American diet to a vegan diet is more beneficial to reductions in climate change than switching from a standard gas-guzzling car to a hybrid. “According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.”(Meat 2012, p.1)
Studies have shown that one gallon of gasoline is required to produce one pound of grain-fed beef. The effects on the environment are evident in regards to the fact that 157 million metric tons of wheat, oats, and corn are used to produce 28 metric tons of animal protein. Also, when a feedlot steer in the United States is ready for slaughter, it has eaten about 2,700 pounds of grain and weighs approximately 1,050 pounds. When these two findings are held side by side it becomes clear that there needs to be some other alternative to meat, and the fact is there is, but it is extremely underutilized and overpriced. Meat production produces more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation in general, with direct emissions from meat production accounting for 18% of world’s total. This percent may not seem all that high but it truly is, and includes emissions from clearing forests and land, making and transporting fertilizer and pesticides, burning fossil fuels, and belching cattle (Shah 2010 p.1-10).
b. When an average American citizen goes meatless for a day the environmental impact for eating meat would not decrease, but would not be produced and would theoretically save an extremely large amount of water, rain forests, grain, and many other factors while reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions, usage of non-renewable resources, and transportation. The method I will use to measure these changes will be by calculating the amount of resources wasted from eating meat, multiplying them by the difference it would make if all the students at Santiago did this, then all of Corona, then lastly all of the United States, and then subtracting them from the amount of comparable resources wasted by eating vegetable proteins. More specifically i will calculate the number of gallons of water to produce one pound of beef and subtract it from the number of gallons of water used to produce on pound of soy tofy produced in California. I will also do the same process to calculate the differences between the amount of fossil fuel energy that goes into every calorie of feed lot beef and the amount of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant based protien. I will use the data of one gallon of gasoline is required to produce a pound of grain fed beef and for every pound of meat produced, farm field lose about 5 pounds of top soil.
c. There are a lot of organizations and places all around the world that are giving up meat for at least one day a week for example Meat Free Monday, and Meatless Monday, which encourage everyone to give up meat every Monday for a more vegetarian approach. In addition there are many activists and environmentalists that encourage the general public to give up meat and eat more vegetables which, in moderation, would make them be healthier and live an active lifestyle as well as saving the environment. By choosing a salad over a hamburger one day a week Americans can make a change that is far more greater in an ecologic and environmental sense than it is currently publicized.
a. The difference it would make if the 3,800 students at Santiago would give up eating meat one day a week would be at least 209,000 square feet of rainforest would be saved, 8,284,000 gallons of water would not be used, 143,640 calories of fossil fuel energy would be saved, 3,800 gallons of gasoline and 19,000 pounds of top soil would not be wasted.The difference it would make if all of Corona would give up eating meat one day a week would be at least 8,415,000 square feet of rainforest would be saved, 333,540,000 gallons of water would not be used, 5,783,400 calories of fossil fuel energy would be saved, 153,000 gallons of gasoline and 765,000 pounds of top soil would not be wasted.The difference it would make if all of the United States would give up eating meat one day a week would be at least 17,215,000,000 square feet of rainforest would be saved, 682,340,000,000 gallons of water would not be used, 11,831,400,000 calories of fossil fuel energy would be saved, 313,000,000 gallons of gasoline and 1,565,000,000 pounds of top soil would not be wasted.
a. My study is designed around the environmental effects of going meatless one day a week for an average American Citizen and if they are educated about current issues and if they are willing to change their habits to improve their health or the environment. My problem is to what extent does age and level of education effect an American citizens willingness to skip at least one day of meat consumption a week to reduce their risk of chronic preventable conditions or reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources. My hypothesis is; As age increases, the likeliness to give up eating meat will decrease and people will be more inclined to give up meat one day a week to improve their heath instead of cleansing the environment. My methods are to survey 50 adults and 50 adolescents with the survey mentioned below by simply handing out the survey to my classmates, teachers, and my parent's coworkers and when they return it with the answers i will add up the data and analyze it. My materials are simply paper and ink for the surveys, my computer and printer, and my graphing calculator. The questionnaire i handed out is listed below:
Less Impact Questionnaire on Reducing Meat Consumption
- Are You an ADULT or an ADOLESCENT? Circle One.
- Do you currently realize that an estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef? YES or NO? Circle One.
- Did you know that red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer, and cardiovascular disease? YES or NO? Circle One.
- Did you know that The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions? YES or NO? Circle One.
- Would you be willing to skip at least one day of meat consumption a week to reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources? YES or NO? Circle One.
- Would you be more inclined to skip at least one day of meat consumption a week to reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions? YES or NO? Circle One.
The results of the data for the adults is that 6 said No, No, No, Yes, Yes meaning that they are uneducated about the issue but still willing to give up meat once a week. 3 adults said Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes meaning they were educated about the topic and are not eating meat one or more days a week. 3 adults said No, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes meaning they were educated about most of the topic and are willing to not eat meat one day a week. 11 adults said No, Yes, No, Yes, Yes meaning that they new the heath issues about eating meat but had no idea about the environmental issues and are willing to skip out on eating meat once a week. 1 adult said Yes, No, Yes, No, No, meaning they know the environmental problems meat has to offer but will not change their eating habits. 1 adult said No, No, No, No, Yes meaning they were uneducated on the issues but will only be willing to stop eating meat due to its health benefits. The results of the data for the adolescents is that 3 said No, No, No, Yes, Yes meaning that they are uneducated about the issue but still willing to give up meat once a week. 2 adolescents said Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes meaning they were educated about the topic and are not eating meat one or more days a week. 8 adolescents said No, Yes, No, Yes, Yes meaning that they new the heath issues about eating meat but had no idea about the environmental issues and are willing to skip out on eating meat once a week. 2 adolescents said Yes, No, Yes, No, No, meaning they know the environmental problems meat has to offer but will not change their eating habits. 6 adolescents said Yes, No, No, Yes, Yes meaning they were educated about most of the topic and are willing to not eat meat one day a week. Lastly 3 adolescents said Yes, No, Yes, Yes, Yes meaning that they only knew the environmental aspects that meat has on the environment and are willing to not eat it once a week.
a. Our data shows that adults are more inclined to give up meat once a week than adolescents are, however the difference is miniscule. Surprisingly 94% of people said they were willing to give up meat. I believe that people will be “willing” to give up meat but not actually do it. I hypothesize that if we did a follow up and asked who actually gave up meat, it would be next to none. A possible explanation for this is that we put pressure on those who answered the questionnaire. Our presence and our survey being answered in a public setting might influence the answers so we don’t get truthful results. I believe that people want to do just acts and help the environment and their own health but can’t physically do something because they don’t have motivation. Having people tell them that their future generations and future health might be spoiled depending on their actions is not enough. People need to physically and presently witness atrocities before they can alter their affluent lives.
From this study I have learned that there is hope that people care not only about their own personal heath, but the overall heath and well being of the environment as well. 24 out of 25 adults said they would be willing to give up eating meat one day a week and 23 out of 25 adolescents said the same thing proving my hypothesis wrong. As it turns out adolescents are more likely to not be willing to give up meat once a week and i believe this to be due to the fact that current trends, easy fast food access, and a lack of education that most adults may have. In the end it is important to look at the fact that some people choose to not eat meat only because it would benefit their heath and not because it would help the environment. For people like this it is important to educate them on environmental issues and also economic and issues dealing with their health to further persuade them to live a more sustainable life. I feel like some of the adults i interviewed were highly educated on the topic because on they survey one of them wrote, "Vegetarian, already doing it" and another said, "So glad you are doing this project! Read Omnivore's Dilemma by M. Pollan." With more people like this in our world and according to the results in my study 97% of people said that they would be willing to skip at least one day of meat consumption a week, I believe this is a great statistic for the future and that more and more people are becoming aware of environmental issues which in turn, will reduce their carbon footprint and save precious resources while reducing their risk of chronic preventable conditions.