It is amazing how little the average American knows about food and agriculture, and their effects on the environment, cultures and health given how basic and critical food is to everyday life. In addition, nothing that humans have done besides impacts on our atmosphere has had a greater impact on the planet than agriculture (the term includes both farming and livestock). In addition, the issue of food has become socially complex in this country with 3 separate reasons behind food choice for Americans: health, morality related to the care and killing of animals, and environmental impacts. Our focus in this discussion will be on the latter, i.e. environmental.
Here is what you need to do to prepare yourself to address this topic. Keep in mind that the primary thing that you are charged to do is determine what would be the best diet and agriculture options for the environment. Keep in mind that the best diet options may not be the environmental options.
First, read Chapters 11 & 12 in the eText.
Next, watch the following YouTube video and then read the listed papers.
Why be a vegetarian https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANUoAdXfA60
10 ways vegetarianism can save the planet https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/18/vegetarianism-save-planet-environment
Meat habits worldwide https://theconversation.com/hooked-on-meat-theres-no-easy-way-to-end-the-global-habit-21632
The positives of giving up meat complex http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2017/11/climate-effects-of-giving-up-meat-depend-on-how-you-slice-it/
Is a vegetarian or vegan diet better environmentally? https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/06/health/vegetarian-diet-conversation/index.html
Is vegetarianism as good for the environment as is often claimed? https://theconversation.com/veggie-is-the-most-low-carbon-diet-right-well-it-depends-where-you-live-54897
The role of farm animals in ecosystems https://civileats.com/2018/01/26/eat-less-meat-ignores-the-role-of-animals-in-the-ecosystem/?utm_content=buffer965f6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Paragraph 1: What were the three most-surprising facts you learned about the environmental impact of food choices based on what you saw presented in the video and in the papers? Why were they surprising to you?
Paragraph 2: The materials you watched and read present pros and cons for both vegetarian and omnivorous diets, what do you think the bottom line is in terms of which is probably the best all-around agriculture choice for the environment when all factors are considered. Why?
Paragraph 3: What do you think the major hurdles would be if Americans chose to become vegetarians? Consider economic and social factors as well as environmental.