The following article was written by Nora Vizzini.
Now that Daylight Saving Time is over, colder days are upon us, and all your vegan sweaters are out of storage, it’s officially time to winterize your home. Seal up the windows, insulate your heater, and double-check that your place is as energy efficient as possible. We all know that energy conservation is good for your wallet and the planet.
But there’s one spot in your home, no bigger than a closet, that’s silently devouring kilowatts at this very moment. And its just-above-freezing temperature isn’t to blame—it’s what’s inside it that matters. If you haven’t guessed yet—it’s your fridge.
Harvesting any type of food requires energy to process, package, and deliver it, but its energy consumption skyrockets when that food is derived from animals. Simply consider all the energy-intensive stages of raising animals for food:
- Growing massive amounts of corn, other grains, and soybeans for feed
- Transporting them to feed manufacturers on 18-wheelers
- Operating the feed mills
- Transporting the feed to factory farms
- Operating the factory farms
- Transporting the animals to slaughter
- Operating the slaughterhouse
- Transporting the meat to processing plants
- Operating meat-processing plants
- Transporting the meat to grocery stores
- Keeping the meat refrigerated until sold
When you add up all those steps, it’s no wonder that it takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie from animal protein as it does to make one calorie from plant protein.
As winter approaches, don’t leave food off your energy audit. Regardless if your fridge has an Energy Star© sticker, if it’s stocked with meat, eggs, and dairy products, you’ve practically got a gas-guzzling Hummer right in your kitchen. To be green and have a heart of gold, reduce your consumption of animal products. From Meatless Monday to the 30-day vegan pledge—every bit counts!