How To Surf and Turf Right


For those of us who feel that we need to consume meat from land and sea, it turns out that there are a fair amount of ways to eat meat right. This past week gave us three helpful bits of advice.

Alot of the issues around eating meat come from its production’s high-carbon footprint. April Fulton of NPR’s The Salt reported last week about a study of the carbon emissions of fishing conducted by Nova Scotian PhD candidate Robert Parker. Parker found that catching smaller fish emits almost 500 times less carbon than catching some crustaceans. Fulton explains:

For example, Parker says, to catch a metric ton (about 2,200 pounds) of sardines or anchovies, it takes about 5 gallons of fuel."

In contrast, to get the same amount of lobster or shrimp, you'd burn an average of 2,100 to 2,600 gallons of fuel.

So, get those Omega-3s and help the planet all at once by sticking to the smaller, more prolific fish. And if you are as concerned with food miles and supporting your local economy as a way of reducing your carbon footprint, Twilight Greenway’s piece in Civil Eats may inspire you to go out and find some local seafood. Greenway highlights the booming business of the “hook-to-fork” community supported fishery (CSF) called SeaSF in Northern California. Started by Anna Larsen, SeaSF’s business model is helping to sustain fisheries and the livelihoods of the people who fish them:

For the last three years, Larsen has been part of a larger effort to steadily expand the audience for local, seasonal seafood in the San Francisco Bay Area. And by reducing the length of the chain from hook to plate, she’s also helping small-scale fishermen earn a better living than they would make if they sold into the larger, commodity market."

Finally, let’s head to the land, where we can learn from Richard McCarthy, Slow Food USA’s Executive Director, about Slow Food USA’s Slow Meat Symposium and some good advice that came out of it. With the tagline “Less Meat. Better Meat,” the symposium sought to answer the questions of how to achieve that four-word goal. Given the immense amount of environmental, ethical, and public health problems with CAFO’s, McCarthy offers 5 simple measures you can take to do your part to direct the meat industry in a better direction.

  1. Join Meatless Monday

  2. Broil for Diversity (branch out with your bird breeds)

  3. Bring better meats into sports stadiums.

  4. Start eating nose-to-tail.

  5. Learn how to use labels

And of course, you could always choose to give up meat a few days a week to cut down on the impact of your consumption. To learn a little more about how beneficial scaling back you meat consumption can be, check out Willy Blackmore’s Take Part article: The Incredible Ways Skipping Meat Can Change the World.

PHOTO: Photo courtesy of


Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson  

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