Epicurious is a website that provides recipes for breakfast, lunch, quick dishes, deserts, drinks and more. Epicurious website visitors are able to browse their recipe categories, including “Chicken, Seafood and Salads”. The list of recipes has just become one item shorter by excluding beef; and the reason behind the decision is clear. Maggie Hoffman, senior editor at Epicurious and David Tamarkin, former digital director said in a blog post that removing beef is a “worthwhile first step” in addressing climate change and moving towards sustainable cooking.
The blog post, which explains the reason for cutting beef products, goes on to cite findings by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States. The findings note that livestock accounts for nearly 15% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions — 41% of those emissions comes from the production of beef. Its worth mentioning that food crops which go directly to feeding humans, as opposed to livestock and factory farm animals, generally require less water, and crop space.
Is Producing Beef Unsustainable?
Epicurious states that “…our shift is solely about sustainability, about not giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offenders. We think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet.” Clearly this food-based company realizes the crucial impact that beef production has on energy, water and farm-land use. Lest we not forget the methane and nitrous oxide emissions which are commonly emitted from populations of mass-bred cattle. Methane and nitrous oxide are substantial contributors to Earth’s mounting inventory of atmospheric greenhouse gases.
Though tackling climate change will require new a new economic framework, a more sustainable infrastructure, legislative support and international coordination, chefs bear the power to affect change from within the kitchen.