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The nitrogen footprint

(article, Culinate staff)

For the past few years, the eco-foodie concern of choice has been carbon footprints, or how much carbon dioxide is spewed into the atmosphere when we drive our cars, eat imported food, and the like. Now the latest gadget is the nitrogen calculator, which lets curious eaters figure out their nitrogen footprint. 

Nitrogen, in case you haven't fertilized your garden lately, is essential for plants. But nitrogen is overused in agriculture in the form of synthetic fertilizer, and it's also released when fossil fuels are burned. So from a pollution perspective, it's not much different from the carbon problem.

And as with the carbon issue, eating lots of meat represents much more nitrogen pollution than eating a more veg-heavy diet. Yet another reason to cut back on the animal protein, especially the factory-farmed kind.