• Home Home

Eye-opening video uncovers some harsh truths about our food: 'There is no time to wait'

The data highlighted how much more work needs to be done.

The data highlighted how much more work needs to be done.

Photo Credit: iStock

A new video making the rounds on X, formerly known as Twitter, illustrates the striking difference in pollution associated with different foods, especially when comparing meat to plant proteins.

The bar graph, which was shared by climate campaigner Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema), displays the "kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent" per kilogram of common foods like bananas, oatmeal, cheese, and more. Beef produces over twice the pollution of all other foods on the bar graph.

"Meat-reared beef produces more than twice the emissions of any other food," the video says.

"The climate impact of the foods we eat," writes Mike. "There is no time to wait. #ActOnClimate"

As cows digest grasses and plants, they emit methane, a strong heat-trapping gas, in a process called enteric fermentation. Manure, chemical fertilizers used on crops produced for cattle feed, and cutting down trees to create grazing pastures also contribute to gases that hurt our air quality, such as carbon.

By substituting alternate proteins a few days a week, individuals can significantly reduce their impact on the atmosphere. Going meatless even once a week makes a measurable difference.

Thankfully, methane emissions from beef production are decreasing. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "We now produce 20% more meat using about 15% fewer cattle" than we did 50 years ago. The amount of heat-trapping gases related to beef production has decreased 21%.

However, the graph highlighted how much more needs to be done.

Collaborative solutions remain crucial in conversations about harmful pollution, and minor meal adjustments can reduce individual environmental impacts, maintain our air quality, and spark conversations about sustainable behavior with others. 

With over 70,000 views and 800 retweets, the eye-opening data resonated with X users and seemed to inspire critical thinking about daily choices. 

"A good way to easily see the comparison of everything we eat," praised one commenter.

While the pollution totals tell a compelling story, some suggested that comparing by protein content could help people make more mindful choices when eating meat. 

"I think looking at carbon emissions relative to protein makes a little more sense because the results aren't thrown off by the water content of the food," another commenter suggested. "Beef is still more than twice as bad as any other protein source."

Other commenters pointed out that agricultural practices were part of the issue. 

"Cattle grazed the right way are carbon negative. Instead of demonizing beef, why not advocate for better ag practices?" one commenter noted.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider