Environmentalists on Thanksgiving: Consider Turkey’s ‘Carbon Footprint,’ Eat Less Meat

Thanksgiving Feast
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Liberal environmentalist non-profits are urging people to eat organic, consume less meat, and consider the carbon footprint of their Thanksgiving feast, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The Center for Food Safety cites University of Manchester researchers’ claim that a turkey and all-the-trimmings meal for eight people produces 44 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. And the life of the bird at the center of the table contributes about 60 percent of that planet-warming gas.

The Baltimore Sun’s Meredith Cohn and Tim Wheeler wrote:

And [those figures don’t] include drinks.

Leave it to the Brits to rain on our traditions. But it was brought to my attention by the Washington-based Center for Food Safety, which wants Americans to lay off food produced by “industrial agriculture” for the sake of the planet, if not their health.

“Choosing the type of food we eat – organic versus conventional meats and veggies, makes a great difference in greenhouse gas emissions,” Debi Barker, the Center’s international director, said, adding that about 14 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are connected to industrial agriculture methods, she contends.

“Our take on that is to empower ourselves,” Barker said. “If you’re buying organic, you’re really taking a bite out of climate [change].”

The Baltimore Sun also talked to Mike Tidwell, head of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network in Takoma Park, who said eating farm-raised meat, fish, or fowl — including turkeys —  is “high-impact” when it comes to climate change.

Tidwell said he is a vegetarian because of his concerns about climate change — except on Thanksgiving.

“You caught me, with my one exception,” Tidwell said.

Meanwhile, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies reported that climate change could cause problems for another Thanksgiving stable, the pumpkin.

Yale Climate Connections reported:

There’s a good chance the pumpkin in your Thanksgiving pie came from Morton, Illinois. This pumpkin paradise produces most of the nation’s holiday squash. But dark skies may loom ahead.

Pumpkins are fair weather fruit; squash rots in squishy fields. And in 2015, record rainfall put a big dent in canned pumpkin production. It was not the first time America’s top squash crop got soaked. And Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel says it will not be the last.

“Probably our biggest concern right now and into the future is that we’ve been trending toward wetter conditions,” Angel said.

Some 100,000 tons of pumpkins are processed in Morton each year, according to the article.

“There are still more good years than bad. But pumpkin shortages could become more common as the climate continues to change.”


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