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Does your diet help or harm the environment?

Climate change is a danger to the whole human race (and a lot of other species), and is caused by greenhouse gases. One way we can cut down on the amount of greenhouse gases that we create is by stopping eating meat. Did you know a kilo of beef generates as much greenhouse gas as driving a car for 250km! It's partly the gases given off by the cow (mostly burping), but mostly all the energy used to produce and then transport the artificial food for the cows. (Cows and similar animals pro- duce 20% of the world's methane - a Greenhouse gas. Interestingly, rice paddy fields produce 19%.)

I spoke to the following young people:

Arkady Johns, 12, vegetarian

PN: How do you feel your diet helps the environment?

AJ: It saves lives

PN: Do you eat dairy products?

AJ: Yes

PN: What is your favourite food?

AJ Potato Waffles

PN: Do you have difficulties about your diet with your family?

AJ No

PN: Do you have difficulties about your diet with your friends?

AJ Not really, I avoid food they like and they avoid food I like.

James Butler, 14, meat eater

PN: How do you feel your diet helps the environment?

JB: I don't think it really does. I'm only a meat eater because I like the taste.

PN: Do you eat dairy products?

JB: Yes.

PN: What is your favourite food?

JB: Chicken

PN: Do you have difficulties about your diet with your family?

JB: No

PN: Do you have difficulties about your diet with your friends?

JB: Not really

Alice May Howard, 15, vegan

PN: How do you feel your diet helps the environment?

AMH: The animals are farmed in big quantaties, they use a lot of chemicals and natural products to increase the profit in farming. I help the environment by not using products, not eating meat, drinking or eating dairy prod- ucts. I am not involved in what they are doing and I am not put- ting money towards it.

PN: Do you eat dairy prod- ucts? 

AMH: No

PN: What is your favourite food?

AMH: Water Melon

PN: Do you have difficulties about diet with your family? I AMH: Yes, because the rest of my family eat meat and dairy products, it is very difficult because I have to cook my meals myself.

PN: Do you have difficulties about your diet with your friends? I AMH: Not really, but some- times I have to remind them I am vegan, when they buy choco- late for me. Feedback from young vegetarians (via the Vegetarian Society):

"Eating meat means you think feeding the animals you're going to eat food which is grown on space that could also have been used to grow stuff for us in the first place is a good idea."

"Animals kept on farms for meat and milk cause loads of pollution you can see and loads that you can't and both types really affect the environment."

"The worst bit is my dad telling me what sweets I can't have because they're not vegetarian."

Sonia Azad is 12 years old.

Topics: Climate Change | Food