How to eat ethically during barbecue season

How to eat ethically during barbecue season
But before you get to grilling, it’s important to know that your typical picks — like hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages — may impact your health and the environment at large.

A study by the found that every daily serving of unprocessed red meat (like steak, hamburger and pork) increased the risk of dying prematurely by 13 per cent, and processed red meat (such as hot dogs, sausage and bacon) upped the risk by 20 per cent.

Not only is the meat bad for you, but producing it is also bad for the earth.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), livestock account for nearly 15 per cent of all human-induced emissions, which contribute to climate change.

“Industrial agriculture, but, in particular, the industrial production of animal protein… has some pretty serious environmental consequences,” said Tony Winson, a professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of Guelph.

For example, the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in the manure and other animal byproducts damages the ocean and, in effect, other animals.

“That ends up in river systems, and those rivers go to the ocean,” he said.

According to Winson, this contributes to “dead zones” in the ocean.

“We now have over 400 known  where, part of the year, nothing lives and everything dies,” said Winson.

A new study released on Monday estimates that this year, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will spread for around 8,000 square miles.

“Mass amounts of nutrients flooding into the ocean creates a bloom of life, which depletes the oxygen and then everything dies,” Winson said.

While choosing a plant-based option for your next cookout can feel like just one drop in the bucket, Winson says making the effort is critical.
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