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How to Destroy the Planet

By Tom Randall and Eric Roston - 2013-05-22T16:13:09Z

Photograph by Steve Ryan

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Eat Meat

Of all the tools available to decimate the environment, meat is the one that tastes best marinated in a peppercorn sauce, with a side of garlic mashed potatoes.

A juicy, iron-rich steak requires substantial inputs to reach your belly, including water, fossil fuels and the nitrogen that fertilized the animal’s feed. Even the animal’s outputs occur in impressive volume, as manure and digestive gas. Slaughterhouses release millions of tons of pollutants into waterways. And a lot of meat itself is wasted: A full 20 percent of U.S. meat produced ends up in landfills, according to the Environmental Working Group

Don’t eat meat? There’s still hope. “Vegetarians who eat dairy aren’t off the hook, because pound for pound, cheese generates the third-highest emissions” behind lamb and beef, the EWG found.

Read more energy & sustainability news.