With New Year’s resolutions just around the corner, consider the popular trend toward a healthy, eco-friendly, compassionate meat-free diet.
According to Harris Interactive, 47 percent of American consumers are reducing their consumption of animal products. USDA projects this year’s per capita chicken and beef consumption to drop by 8 percent and 17 percent, respectively, from their 2006 peaks. Similar dramatic drops are projected for pigs and turkeys. Milk consumption has fallen by a whopping 40 percent since 1970.
A number of celebrities are going vegan. They include Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Z and Beyonce. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, PayPal founder Peter Thiel, and Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams are funding plant-based replacements for meat and eggs.
Fast-food chains like Subway and Chipotle are responding to the growing demand by rolling out vegan options. Taco Bell has found that 43 percent of conversations about meat were negative. The Baltimore, Los Angeles, and San Diego school districts, serving more than a million meals a day, have adopted Meatless Mondays.
How about dropping animals from the menu for this New Year’s resolution? Entering “Meatout Mondays” in a search engine brings tons of useful recipes and transition tips.
Nuclear power plants offer nation best option
Some energy experts may believe the party’s over for nuclear power, but it has many things going its way, some of which are already coming into play.
Since 2001, nuclear power plants in the United States have achieved lower production costs than coal, natural gas or oil. Commercial reactors like Grand Gulf at Port Gibson typically produce large quantities of electricity around the clock, safely and reliably, when needed. In fact, Grand Gulf produces 1,443 megawatts, the highest amount for any single reactor in America.
That’s just one of the unrecognized values of Grand Gulf. Here in Mississippi, nuclear power provides price stability and is not subject to the price volatility associated with gas-fired power plants.
Irrational opposition to nuclear power should not be allowed to block its use in electricity production. If we are to maintain a reliable mix of energy sources in Mississippi, the time to remove obstacles to nuclear power’s future like disposal of nuclear used fuel in a deep-geologic repository is now.
C.T. Carley, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering
Mississippi State University