Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Adding Veggies to your Diet Helps Cut Global Warming

Published: Friday, May 10, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, May 10, 2013
Bookmark and Share
If the carnivorous U.S. population – as a whole – ate a more-vegetarian diet that included egg and milk products, the environment would be greatly relieved, says a preliminary Cornell study.

Far fewer acres of land would be needed to support the diet, and much less nitrogen would pour into the environment, says life-cycle engineer Christine Costello, a postdoctoral researcher in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology. She will soon be a faculty member at the University of Missouri.

“Before, we knew that our diets were connected to the environment and our land use. Now, we have explicit links, as we can calculate and corroborate inputs like fertilizers, nitrous oxide and we can obtain more accurate numbers. It is important to demonstrate how consumption choices drive environmental impacts, and this project is explicitly defining those connections,” says Costello.

“A decrease in the proportion of meat, dairy and eggs in the average American diet would be better for our health and better for our planet as a whole,” says Costello. “Perhaps as scientists, we can find data that helps societal behavior influence environmental policy.”

In a multidisciplinary project funded by Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Costello presented preliminary results from her study, “Does a Healthy Diet Help Lead to a Healthy Environment?,” at a meeting of Atkinson Center scientists in April. Costello collaborated with Robert Howarth, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Ian Merwin, professor of horticulture; Laurie Drinkwater, professor of horticulture; and Christina Stark and Jennifer Wilkins, both senior extension associates in nutrition.

Land use in an omnivore’s diet dwarfs the ovo-lacto vegetarian’s diet, she reported. A typical U.S. omnivore annually eats food that takes 3,370 square meters to produce against a vegetarian’s mere 890 square meters of annual production. Of those 3,370 square meters, 2,950 square meters of agricultural land is needed annually to nourish and house such farm animals as cows, pigs and sheep, while approximately 270 is needed to support ovo-lacto vegetarians.

For nitrogen inputs into agricultural soil, the omnivorous diet annually results in almost double (22 kilograms of reactive nitrogen) the input of a vegetarian diet (12 kilograms), based on preliminary results. This reflects the large fertilizer and nitrogen inputs associated with producing grain and forage crops for livestock.

Furthermore, Costello is working to estimate the impact of food waste; the USDA reports that 51 percent of dairy products, 54 percent of fruits, 47 percent of vegetables, 35 percent of poultry and 20 percent of beef are wasted in the United States at the consumer level. And U.S. consumers eat far more protein – at an environmental global cost – than needed. Protein availability is approximately 110 grams per capita per day – more than twice the recommended level of consumption for optimal nutrition, with more than 60 percent of protein provided by animal products.

Says Costello: “This excess food consumption wastes energy, and spoiled food wastes energy. Changing our diets and changing our consumer habits could significantly reduce nutrient inputs, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural land use and cause positive health impacts.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

$5.5M NSF Grant Aims to Improve Rice Crops with Genome Editing
Researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell to improve rice.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Genetics Used to Improve Plants for Bioenergy
An upcoming genetics investigation into the symbiotic association between soil fungi and feedstock plants for bioenergy production could lead to more efficient uptake of nutrients, which would help limit the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Pest Attacks Can Lead to Bigger Crop Yields
New project receive three-year funding of $498,000 from USDA.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Algal Genes May Boost Efficiency, Yield in Staple Crops
New research has taken a step toward employing genes from blue-green algae to improve staple crop photosynthesis.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Study to Focus on Rice Genes, Yield and Climate
Cornell researchers received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study relationships among rice genetics, crop yields and climate.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
New Alfalfa Variety Resists Ravenous Local Pest
The new variety has some resistance against the alfalfa snout beetle which has ravaged alfalfa fields.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Predators Delay Pest Resistance to Bt Crops
Crops genetically modified with the bacterium Bt(Bacillus thuringiensis) produce proteins that kill pest insects.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Shark, Human Proteins are Surprisingly Similar
Despite widespread fascination with sharks, the world’s oldest ocean predators have long been a genetic mystery.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Surprises Discovered in Decoded Kiwifruit Genome
DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Produce Perfect: Biotech Sweet Corn goes Unblemished
With the kernel-loving earworm, producing unblemished ears of sweet corn is difficult.
Monday, October 14, 2013
New Micro Water Sensor Can Aid Growers
Crop growers, wine grape and other fruit growers, food processors and even concrete makers all benefit from water sensors for accurate, steady and numerous moisture readings.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Partnership Homes in on Regenerative Medicine
Scientists are to advance healing techniques and technologies for animals and humans.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Using Genes to Rescue Animal and Plants from Extinction
With estimates of losing 15 to 40 percent of the world’s species over the next four decades researchers whether science should employ genetic engineering to the rescue.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Senator to Tout Cornell Food Safety, Dairy Expertise to Feds
Cornell University is positioned to be a national center of excellence in dairy and food safety.
Monday, September 09, 2013
'Fountain of Youth’ for Leaves Discovered
A team has identified an enzymatic fountain of youth that slows the process of leaf death.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Scientific News
New Method Promises to Speed Development of Food Crops
A new study addresses a central challenge of transgenic plant development: how to reliably evaluate whether genetic material has been successfully introduced.
Where Cancer Cells May Begin
Scientists use fruit fly genetics to understand how things could go wrong in cancer.
Key Enzyme in Pierce’s Disease Grapevine Damage Uncovered
UC Davis plant scientists have identified an enzyme that appears to play a key role in the insect-transmitted bacterial infection of grapevines with Pierce’s disease, which annually costs California’s grape and wine industries more than $100 million.
Bacteria Attack Lignin with Enzymatic Tag Team
Team from Rice, University of Wisconsin-Madison shows how nature handles lignin.
Milestone Resource in Wheat Research Now Available for Download
Leading on from The Genome Analysis Centre’s (TGAC) previous announcement of their new bread wheat genome assembly, the landmark resource is now publically available to download at the European Bioinformatics Institute’s (EMBL-EBI) Ensembl database for full analysis.
Nano-Reactor for the Production of Hydrogen Biofuel
Combining bacterial genes and virus shell creates a highly efficient, renewable material used in generating power from water.
Cleaning Wastewater with Pond Scum
A blob of algae scooped from a fountain on South Street almost two years ago, has seeded a crop of the green stuff that Drexel University researchers claim is more effective at treating wastewater than many of the processes employed in municipal facilities today.
Global Reductions in Mercury Emissions Should Lead to Billions in Economic Benefits for U.S.
Benefits from international regulations may double those of domestic policy.
A Worm with Five Faces
Max Planck scientists discover new roundworm species on Réunion.
A Gene for New Species is Identified
A University of Utah-led study identified a long-sought “hybrid inviability gene” responsible for dead or infertile offspring when two species of fruit flies mate with each other.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!