SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.—“Ditch the Meat to Fight the Heat,” urges a billboard the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which has 3,800 members in Michigan, placed in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., this Earth Month. Eating less meat helps curb meat production, which releases potent planet-warming greenhouse gases. Sault Ste. Marie is one of 11 U.S. cities that recorded their warmest year on record in 2021.
The doctors group has also written to Mayor Don Gerrie and asked him to encourage residents to try Meat-Free Fridays starting on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, and moving forward, to help reduce their carbon footprint, as well as stay healthy.
The billboard, which directs viewers to PCRM.org/ClimateChange, is located at the intersection of Ashmun and Ridge Streets.
The findings are from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information “State of the Climate: National Climate Report for 2021,” which found that the following cities set records for their warmest year in 2021: Akron, Ohio; Baltimore, Md.; Bismarck, N.D.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Del Rio, Texas; Erie, Pa.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; Montpelier, Vt.; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; and Toledo, Ohio. Research from The Weather Channel also shows that Sault Ste. Marie had its warmest year in 2021.
“Sault Ste. Marie’s record-breaking heat is, in part, a consequence of America’s meat-eating habit, which all cities must take urgent steps to break,” says Josh Cullimore, MD, MPH, Physicians Committee director of preventive medicine, in a letter to Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Don Gerrie. “One simple step cities and individuals can take to reduce their carbon footprint, and stay healthy, is going meat-free. That’s why we are urging Sault Ste. Marie to set an example for cities across America by encouraging residents to try Meat-Free Fridays beginning this Earth Day, Friday, April 22, and moving forward, and to eat more plant-based meals.”
Shifting diets from meat and other animal products to plant-based diets has a high potential for reducing carbon footprints and mitigating climate change, as well as improving human health, according to Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, a new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The authors say that studies demonstrate that a shift to plant-based diets rich in pulses, nuts, fruits, and vegetables could lead to substantial reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as compared to current dietary patterns in most industrialized countries.
A study published last year shows just how critical cutting meat production is in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The study found that 57% of global greenhouse gas emissions from food production come from meat and dairy products. Beef contributes the most global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the study.
A vegan diet based on fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans is also best for human health, helping to prevent or reverse conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and helping to reduce the risk of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.