If the tour didn’t answer your question then please read on.
|Types of Meat||Small (g)||Medium (g)||Large (g)|
It’s a bit tricky to provide examples for all of the above combinations but generally, as a rule of thumb most restaurants and especially pubs serve large portions (especially in Australia). Steaks are easy since their weight is usually marked in the menu description, (ie. 300g rump steak) but meals where meat is just one of the ingredients, such as a stir fry, can be more difficult to work out. Unless it looks like a particularly small portion of meat then go for medium or large - we trust your estimates. Remember that the focus of this challenge is not on 100% accuracy but rather learning about the relative carbon footprints of our various food choices.
At home it’s easy since you know exactly how much meat you purchased from your butcher or the supermarket. Eggs vary a lot in terms of size but generally a small portion is 2 eggs, medium is 3 and large is 4 eggs.
If you have been slacking off (or too busy) and forget to put in a meal, don’t sweat. We will initially send you a friendly reminder about the meal that you missed. If you did actually skip that meal then press the ‘skip meal’ button.
If we still haven’t heard from you, we can do it for you if you choose to ignore the second reminder. We do this by calculating the average carbon points from your previous meals, such as all of your lunches to date if the missing meal is lunch, and then subtract it from your carbon budget.
Consuming plant-based sources of iron with foods rich in vitamin C can increase absorption by up to five times.
You should also try to avoid drinking tea and coffee with meals containing ingredients high in iron as the tannins can interfere with iron absorption.
Even simply using a cast iron skillet to cook your food can increase the amount of iron in the meals!
When selecting your beef and lamb meal for the week we recommend opting for a grass-fed option for all of the reasons listed on the ‘Free Range Restaurants’ page but in particular for their higher omega-3 content.
Chicken liver has the highest iron content of any meat - 3 times that of beef. You can learn more about the relative iron content of various plant and animal sources of iron here.
From a carbon footprint perspective, not all dairy is equal. Milk has a similar carbon footprint to that of soy clocking in at 1.9 kg of carbon (190 carbon points) per litre. The dairy with all the culture - yoghurt, is slightly higher at 2.2 kg of carbon (220 carbon points) per liter. The crowd favourite and weakness of vegans the world over, cheese, clocks in at the highest of all, a whopping 13.5 kgs of carbon (1,350 carbon points) per kilogram. So that chicken or vegetarian pizza may not be so climate-friendly after all. We recommend selecting grass-fed cheese used sparingly and hence enjoyed in moderation.
While we absolutely advocate eating locally-produced, free-range, grass-fed organic meat where possible, for the purpose of The Climatarian Challenge there is no difference in the carbon footprint/carbon points it will cost you. You can just select the type of meat and portion size as per usual.
If you are interested in reading more about the impact of transport on the overall carbon footprint of various types of meat and vegetables we recommend taking a look at the Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change and Health.
The emissions data used throughout The Climatarian Challenge app comes directly from the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM) developed within the Animal Production and Health Division of the United Nations Farming and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO). It is based on Life Cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies. It includes upstream, on farm and downstream impacts to quantify the total greenhouse gas emissions related to livestock sector supply chains.
In terms of land use, Livestock agriculture occupies 45% of the world’s ice-free land and the majority of this land is used up by cows and sheep. When you consider that meat demand is set to double by 2050 according to the UN, this is not only a ticking time-bomb for our climate but for our ability to sustain economic growth. Our climate and our economies are becoming inextricably linked, so that like a stalling aeroplane, our ability to grow and sustain these economies will be dictated not by our politicians nor our banks but by the weather itself.
New land required to meet demand has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is forests. Trees absorb a third of the carbon we emit every year and when we cut them down they not only release all of that stored carbon back into the atmosphere but also stop providing us with that free service of carbon absorption. Climate change aside for a moment - they also provide us with oxygen!
This multiplying effect on climate change is absolutely reversible but we need to start by actually reversing the trend in demand. So by eating less meat and in particular, red meat, as well as planting (or at least curbing the destruction of) trees you really will be helping to limit GHG levels.
Methane, which you have probably heard people make jokes about, is 86 times more potent at warming the climate than carbon dioxide. So aside from all the other ways, animal agriculture contributes to climate change, ruminant animals in particular, produce a large quantity of heat-trapping gas.
100 carbon point equals 1 gram of carbon dioxide equivalent (carbon) emissions. The Guardian has a great explanation of what carbon dioxide equivalent is here.
So if you would like to indulge in a 300g beef steak, you would have spent a whopping 1900 carbon points - that’s almost a quarter of your entire budget!
Better save the beef steaks for special occasions.
Since this app will be used worldwide we have used the global averages which are actually lower than the Australian average since a smaller proportion of our livestock are finished on grain in feedlots compared to the global average.
If you are based in Australia we recommend checking out the work of our friends at Animals Australia and Voiceless. For those of you living outside of Australia, we recommend checking out the work of our friends at Humane Society International. There are also many local groups wherever you are, such as our early supporters at Toronto Pig Save.