March of the Fun Food Facts

“I’ll have a cheeseburger — with bacon, and an order of fries. Oh, and make the fries au cheval (with the egg on top). Bacon on the side.”

I’ve said that sentence more times than I’m willing to admit. That’s what happens when you live in the Midwest and your apartment is far too close to one of Chicago’s favorite burger haunts.

I order the burger, fries, and that delicious thick-cut bacon, blissfully oblivious to the amount of production that went into the whole shebang. I’m focused on the incredible compilation of flavors — and, hey, it’s only $10, so there’s that, too.

But what goes into my burger? The fries? The bacon? We don’t often think about the carbon footprint of our food, or the “foodprint” if you will.

Truth is — a burger (or any meat) addiction can make a significant impact on the environment. In terms of carbon emissions, forgoing one delicious burger per week for a year is like taking your car off the road for 320 miles. That’s not something to joke about. Then throw in the condiments -- the bacon, the egg on top, the fries, the egg on those —the negative impacts add up quickly.

Of course, we’re not saying you should swear off meat for the rest of your earthly life, but it’s time to think about how things get to your plate and the kinds of emissions created by that process. Honestly, it’s trendy these days, so consider the vegetable (and seitan and quinoa, that stuff doesn’t get enough hype).

Need ideas? Check out our Meatless Monday Pinterest.

Inspired? Sign our Veg Pledge and commit to forgoing meat for a least a meal next week.

Christy Perera, AB '12, Office of Sustainability Assistant Program Coordinator.