Steak Or Veggie Burger: Which Is Greener?

Steak Or Veggie Burger: Which Is Greener?

Emily Han
Jul 22, 2010

In a couple of recent articles for Mother Jones, "dyed-in-the-wool" vegetarian Kiera Butler explores whether vegetarianism is always better than eating meat ... and tries her first hamburger.

Like many vegetarians, Butler says she assumed that her dietary choices were always better than those of her meat-eating friends. "Aren't my salads, cage-free egg sandwiches, and veggie burgers always better for the planet than any kind of meat—no matter how responsibly it's raised?" she asks. After talking to various experts, however, she discovers that the issue is a lot more complex.

Although pure, unprocessed vegetables generally have a lighter environmental impact, protein alternatives – foods like tofu, veggie burgers, and fakin' bacon – could be worse than beef. That's grass-fed beef, to be specific, which might have a positive effect on the land and soil. (Whether raising grass-fed cows is sustainable in terms of greenhouses gases is debated.) But even vegetables don't escape criticism in the articles, which ultimately reveal that there are no simple answers.

Give the articles a read over at Mother Jones and then let us know what you think:
Steak or Veggie Burger: Which is Greener?
Bacon Lovers vs. Soy Huggers: The Smackdown

AT on ... Can You Be Green and Eat Meat?
Omnivorism: Still a Dilemma?
Eating Less Meat: Is Fake Meat the Answer?
Is Tofu Bad For the Environment?

(Image: Flickr member pointnshoot licensed under Creative Commons)

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