As if you need another reason to feel guilty about chowing down on Thanksgiving Day, consider this: researchers at the University of Manchester in England figure that a turkey-n-trimmings feast for eight produces approximately 44 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. About 60% of that planet-warming gas comes from the life cycle of the turkey, alone. And that doesn’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,” says Debi Barker, the center’s international director. About 14 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are connected to industrial agriculture methods, she contends, with much of those related to the use of chemical fertilizer on crops. By one estimate, half of all methane emissions – another powerful greenhouse gas – come from concentrated animal feeding operations, she adds.
“Our take on that is to empower ourselves,” Barker says. “If you’re buying organic, you’re really taking a bite out of climate.”