NPR has been doing an interesting series on meat this week. (Gasp! I just mentioned the 'meat' word on a veg blog!)
Here is a link to today's feature on meat consumption vs. resource consumption. In my experience as a native of rural Virginia, most people do not realize that meat requires significantly more resources to produce than vegetables . In fact, I did not realize that meat consumption had a profound environmental impact until I was assigned an onerous research paper in high school on the benefits of vegetarianism. At the time, I had stopped eating red meat after an episode of food poisoning, but hadn't considered becoming completely vegetarian.
My perspective shifted when I read Diet For a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe. While many of Ms. Lappe's ideas on complementary proteins have been dismissed by the medical community as of late, she is absolutely correct about the environmental impact of meat consumption. (Not to mention some of her recipes are rather tasty.)
So, when Tyler Cowen told NPR, "The way to make the world a better place, through your eating, is simply to eat a bit less meat.", in a recent interview with NPR, he is very likely correct.