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People's Choice: Hamburger > Planet Earth

UNFILTERED: A single hamburger's impact on the environment

Author: Ifé (Young Reporter, Costa Rica)

You know when you sit down and think of a lot of random things? Well the other day I was wondering how bad a hamburger is, honestly, for the environment. We have all heard people say how unhealthy junk food is, but have you ever truly thought of how bad it is, not only for you and your health but for the environment? I say we find out. After a deep internet dive, I found some statistics on a very popular brand of hamburgers and fries (and I am sure we all know which one it is) so let's talk about this. This popular brand’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 were 0.764 megatrons, just for anyone out there who does not really understand the massiveness of the number; an average USA household produces 7.5 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year… Basically 1 metric megaton is equal to 1,000,000 metric tons, so, hope that gives you some insight on the number.

As if the previous number could not give us more than enough of an idea of how harmful the fast food industry is, I searched even deeper just to find the carbon footprint of this famous brand’s signature hamburger. Beware, numbers might seem disturbing for some readers! The carbon footprint of the signature hamburger was from 3.4 to 4.82 kilograms of CO2 equivalent gases… Let's take a moment to actually process this number. It's truly amazing; knowing all the facts. I don't know about you, but I sure am regretting a couple of hamburgers in the past.... But hey! At least we all know for the next time.

Eating food from the fast food industry is not only tarnishing your own health, but the planet’s overall well-being; so I beg you, try and go green next time. The idea is never to make anyone feel like a bad person, because who hasn't eaten fast food? We all have, and realistically we probably will again… Just make sure to sit down and think random things sometimes so that you can get to the root of many things that we are yet to know and be educated on, and don't eat fast food too often; if not for you, then for the planet you have the privilege of enjoying.

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