Less Meat = Less Heat

Addressing the large scale environmental damage of large scale meat production

Raising livestock for our current level of human consumption requires an extraordinary amount of resources and takes a devastating toll on our planet. The term “Less Meat = Less Heat” refers to decreasing large scale meat production, which in turn, would significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

Below are graphics that bring this crucial environmental message to light, as well as the supporting scientific evidence. Research provided by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

Fact: One ¼ lb. of beef requires 425 gallons of water to produce.


Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2010) The green, blue and grey water footprint of farm animals and animal products, Value of Water Research Report Series No. 48, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, the Netherlands

Equation: 0.25 lbs. × 1,700 gal / 1 lb. beef = 425 gallons (total water footprint)

Link: http://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Report-48-WaterFootprint-AnimalProducts-Vol1.pdf


Fact: Global livestock production creates more green house gas than the entire transportation sector.


Gerber PJ, Steinfeld H, Henderson B, et al. Tackling Climate Change through Livestock – A Global Assessment of Emissions and Mitigation Opportunities. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2013.

Link: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3437e.pdf



Fact: Livestock production uses 33% of the Earth’s entire land surface


Livestock’s Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options. Food and Agriculture Organization. 2006. Chapt. 2. ISBN 92-5-105571-8.

Link: http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e.pdf



Topic: How to calculate emissions saved from not eating a ¼ lb. beef in terms of driving miles.

Equivalency: 2.797 kg CO2e / 0.25 lbs beef

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X10000399

Equivalency: 6.7 miles of driving per 0.25 lbs beef

Link: https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator



Claim: The energy it takes to produce one ¼ lb. of beef is about the equivalent needed to power your iPhone for 6 months.

Reference: Energy Use Agricultural Systems; Volume 103, Issue 6, July 2010, Pages 380-389

Equation: Energy for a ¼ pound burger: 38.2 MJ/Kg LW x (1 kg / 2.20462 lbs) × (1 lbs. live weight / 0.6 lbs. edible weight) = 28.94 MJ/lb EW

28.94 * 0.25 lb = 7.2 MJ

12.6 MJ/year charge smart phone

Links: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X10000399



Fact: With the 756 million tons of grain used to feed animals for meat production each year, we could feed 2.3 billion people instead.

Reference:The Startling Effects of Going Vegetarian for Just One Day,” by Kathy Freston. AlterNet.

Equation: Assuming 2700 kcal/person/day and 1/3 calories wasted.

2700 kcal/day *365 days/year=985,500 kcal/year

9.46*1015 kcal produced worldwide from plants * 0.36 fed to animals* (1 year/985500 kcals/person)*(2/3 post-waste estimate)= 2,303,805,175 people/year

Link: https://www.alternet.org/story/134650/the_startling_effects_of_going_vegetarian_for_just_one_day