With Science about the collapse of the world’s fisheries, I think it’s appropriate once again to examine a topic that doesn’t get enough attention: our diets. Not only does eating fish exacerbate the collapse of marine ecosystems and lead to the death of millions of other creatures, including turtles, dolphins, and whales, but the energy used to catch deep-sea fish is equivalent to factory-farmed beef.

That wasn’t a typo. Eating most types of fish is like eating Big Macs in terms of the environmental impacts, and probably worse.

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People get very defensive when you talk about food because it’s so personal. But this new study from the University of Chicago shows that diet produces differences in energy consumption equivalent to the differences in energy between driving a hybrid car and an SUV — and that’s aside from all the other horrible environmental effects of animal agriculture, which include deforestation, polluted water, animal cruelty, and soil erosion.

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Vegetarianism isn’t for everyone, but if you care about the environment you owe it to yourself to examine your diet and think long and hard about whether meat, poultry, and fish are really all that important to you. Even reducing them in your diet makes a big difference. With amazing vegetarian food available virtually everywhere, you may come to realize you don’t even have to sacrifice eating pleasure and satisfaction.

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