Monday, February 18, 2013

The UN Says to "Rich" Nations: Please Cut Your Consumption of Meat by Half

Often when I go to my neighborhood supermarket, I see people filling their shopping carts with beef, steak, pork, chicken...but primarily with beef and steak.  I've often asked myself, "OMG, how much meat do people need to eat?"

Well, the UN is suggesting that people in Europe and the USA cut their eating (consumption) of meat by 1/2. The UN also suggests that people in poorer countries increase their consumption of meat.

Here are some vocabulary words that will help you read the following article about this topic:

to cut - in this case, cut means reduce

to halve - to divide something into two equal parts

consumption - consuming something means either eating something or buying something.  If you buy something you are a consumer.  But you can also consume a nice meal.

a scandal - a story that brings embarrassment to someone or some organization.

cheap - inexpensive, not costing much money

to urge someone to do something - to strongly recommend something, to push someone toward doing something

to expose - to reveal, to show

to stop short of something - to end doing something before something happens; to stop before saying or doing something completely

lust for meat  - to lust for something is to desperately desire something.  Lust is, basically, sexual desire.

to fuel something - to keep something going.

undocumented - not officially recorded; if meat is undocumented it means it hasn't been inspected or tested for safety

mislabeled - not categorized correctly

to coin a term - to create a term

a quest for something - a quest is a journey to discover or do something

massive - huge

intensively - strongly, with extreme effort

to divert - to change the direction of something

fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides -  fertilizer is any type of substance added to soil (dirt) to make it richer; a pesticide kills bugs; an herbicide kills weeds and other plants.  Anything with "cide" means killing.  Homicide - murder, suicide - killing yourself, genocide - killing a whole group of people.

run-off - when a chemical is removed by water from an area and flows to another area

toxic algal blooms - toxic is poison, algal is algae, a type of plant, to bloom is to develop

amphibians - frogs are amphibians; amphibians live in the water or on land.

an eco-system - a system of inter-related organisms.  A rain-forest eco-system contains trees, snakes, insects, plants, birds etc.

a portion - a part of something; a small portion of food means a little bit of food

a tougher nut to crack - a more difficult problem to solve.  Basically they are saying that Americans are not going to give up eating the huge amounts of meat that they are used to.

to lack, to be lacking - not to have

manure - poop.  Crap.  The solid waste material you flush down the toilet.  Cow poop is often used as fertilizer.

a crop yield - the amount of corn, or grain or anything that a crop provides.  A crop is what can be eaten and which grows in an area of land.

exacerbate - to make worse

degradation - to get worse

sparingly - not used as much as it could be used

emission - an emission is when something comes from something else; a chimney emits smoke

sewage - when you flush your toilet, human waste material goes into your city's sewer system; sewage is human waste material or waste material in general.

1)  How can Americans be convinced that they should consume less meat?

2)  What do you think should be done to the companies that knowingly used horsemeat in their beef products?

3)  Have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian?

4)  Do you feel that you have been eating too much meat?  Are you willing to cut back on your consumption?

5)  The UN seems to be suggesting that eating chicken is better for the environment than eating beef.  What do you think about this?  Do you think it's OK to eat just a little meat, or should we try to avoid meat altogether?

6)  Do you think there are good ethical reasons to become a vegetarian?

7)  Why are people in the west over-eating meat?  Is it the fault of the consumer or of the meat producing companies or both?

Yes, I'm the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway

If this page is useful to you, please buy the book (it's quite inexpensive and useful!!!!). If you don't have an e-reader, drop me a line at and I'll send you a free copy via Word file. Let me know whether you have Word 2010 or an earlier version.
Yes, I'm also the guy who created the scandal in Asia two years ago :P

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