Recent studies into the matter have shown that both Americans and Canadians eat less meat than several years ago. For US citizens the drop was somewhere around 12.2 percent less meat in 2012 than they did 2007 and Canadians had a 31 percent drop in pork and a 19 percent reduction in beef since 1999.
This reductions came at a time not of economical hardship but quite the opposite; especially in Canada. Here the aging population was a major factor in the dietary change as they eat less red meat for health reasons. In the United States the drop was also caused by rising food prices. Since they are linked to fuel prices (which have risen in the past decade), together with China’s and India’s increasing consumption of meat, have made meat prices to rise.
The environmental factor also plays an important role here. Meat his a highly pollutant food source. Besides needing about half of all the land for grazing space, cattle are responsible for almost half the greenhouse gasses. Not CO2 but methane which is 25 times more potent at trapping heat into the atmosphere than carbon. Moreover, in order to produce a ton of beef you require around 16,700 cubic meters of water as compared to potatoes which need only about 133 for the same amount.
At present we need another extra half a planet to keep up our present consumption in a sustainable way. And this is because 1.5 billion people are currently starving on the planet. If everybody were to live like the average American, we would need some 4.5 planet Earths to do so. We are currently “spiraling into a pit so deep we don’t know how to get out just yet”. The best way for us, the average Joe, to help stop this is to stop eating meat as much as possible or altogether.