Nitrous oxide continues to have a huge impact on global warming. Based on recent research, there are two key ways that these emissions can be decreased. One method involves farmers — because their fertilizers are often infused with nitrogen, they are responsible for a startlingly high percentage of these harmful emissions (approximately 80 percent). This problem is difficult to address because these fertilizers are such a large part of how farmers do business. We can make a difference, however, by investing in cover crops during the colder months and changing what we feed our livestock.
Another way to reduce nitrous oxide emissions is by educating people in developed nations on how their eating habits impact the environment. In particular, meat consumption is a concern. If individuals consume 50 percent less meat, farmers would not have to use as much of the fertilizer that contains nitrogen. In addition, there would be less need for manure.
To make a difference, this meat consumption goal would need to be accomplished by 2050. This is due, in part, to the fact that the world’s population continues to increase, and meeting that objective would allow the projected nine billion people of the future to have enough to eat. One of the challenges that we face is that people all over the world are eating more and more red meat, and that trend shows no sign of slowing down (except in the US, where it is on the decline — a recent study has projected meat consumption has peaked here).
As a result, many feel this goal is unattainable. However, experts feel confident that it is not as impossible as it first appears. For instance, look at how differently smoking is handled in today’s society versus half a century ago. Very few could have predicted that citizens would no longer be allowed to smoke in many restaurants. However, this change, along with several others, is now a reality.
If you want to start this process in your own life, one simple way of changing your eating habits involves substituting pork or chicken for red meat. While the end goal is to completely eliminate meat from half of your meals, this is a great way to get started. Consider building a photography website around this idea. Document your journey toward changing your eating habits through pictures. Post photographs of the meals that you eat and make quick notes on them. You do not have to rid your diet of meat completely; just try to incorporate other things into your meal plan as well. Do your part to help save the environment and let others know how important it is as well.
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Flicker/Creative Commons