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What’s the Environmental Impact of Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress?

by , 09/17/10   filed under: Eco-Celebrities, Featured, The Big Idea

Lady Gaga, meat clothing, meat dresses, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, sustainable style, ethical fashion, edible clothing, edible fashion

Lady Gaga clearly enjoys shock-and-awing rapt audience and reluctant bystanders alike, but her beefy getup at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards surely skirt-steaks the question of taste, not to mention sanitation. The American chanteuse’s Atkins-approved getup, made entirely of slabs of tenderloin, strip steak, flank steak, and rump roast (about $100 worth of the cheaper cuts, notes one New York butcher) will have press and public squawking for days. But given that livestock production generates almost a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases—more so than transportation—according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, we have to ask: How large of a carbon footprint does the “Bad Romance” singer’s costumey stunt have compared to other types of high-protein nosh?

Lady Gaga, meat clothing, meat dresses, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, sustainable style, ethical fashion, edible clothing, edible fashion

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

Despite improvements in productivity over the past 30 years, the beef industry is one of the worst offenders when it comes to environmental impact. One study from Japan claims that raising 2.2 pounds of beef generates as much greenhouse gas as driving a car continuously for three hours.

The fact that the meat came from Argentina, rather than say, Wisconsin, doesn’t help numbers.

The fact that the meat from Gaga’s dress came from Argentina, rather than say, Wisconsin, doesn’t help numbers, since freighting meat from abroad requires more energy than trucking it domestically. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that the environmental of meat production starts long before it reaches your plate (or in this case, your body),” says Rita Schenck the executive director of the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment, which examines the environmental impact of products from cradle to grave. “The fertilizers that are used to grow the feed, the trucks that are used to transport the animals, and the waste generated from farms themselves.”

Lady Gaga, meat clothing, meat dresses, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, sustainable style, ethical fashion, edible clothing, edible fashion

LESSER EVILS

Still, it could have been worse, according to a 2007 study by Audsley & Sanders (see chart above). The biggest contributer to global warming is lamb, generating over 100 tons of carbon dioxide per ton of protein. Following that, in order of decreasing impact, comes beef, eggs, pork, and poultry. Vegetables barely register a blip on the greenhouse-gas front in comparison.

The biggest contributer to global warming is lamb, generating over 100 tons of carbon dioxide per ton of protein.

“I have to say, after I saw this data, I changed the way I eat—I eat a lot more vegetarian food now,” Schenck adds. “It’s my hope that more people will think about the entire life cycle of food and all products we consume.”

For Gaga’s next performance, might we suggest a less-nauseating organic salad, instead?

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10 Responses to “What’s the Environmental Impact of Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress?”

  1. rbredmond1 says:

    Only a deaf, dumb, blind celebrity could get away with this colossal waste of food and not get slammed for it.

    With the current financial fiasco worldwide and people struggling to put food on their tables, SHAME ON HER!!!

  2. sf says:

    Am I the only one who is wondering how bad this dress smells??

  3. ugocrazy says:

    Not that i approve of waste or this dress in any ways, i feel there is some sort of hypocrisy over the outrage.

    Just how much meat is waster at any given time in the US – or any occidental country for that matter ?

    An now we are all running to the barricades over a hundred bucks worth of meat. Meat that would have be sold and wasted in a 10$ all you can pork in buffet…

    So this article deals with the footprint and that\’s fun I think but no more. I\’d be more interested in the waste food footprint of the US per capita.

    rbredmond1 : please. A meat dress or a 5k$ dress by some designer… Money and Hollywood/celebrities have nothing to do with financial situation or food on your table. I feel your comment is – if not unfounded, and right in its essence – definitely misdirected.

  4. drejto says:

    I feel that it\’s a lot more productive to compare this \”dress\” to a fur or leather outifut, such as that of the person next to Gaga in the picture. While the idea of wearing meat is probably meant to be a statement of how people view female celebrities as pieces of meat, it also illuminates what\’s behind the production of leather and fur – animal flesh. I would be a lot more interested in what the footprint of something like this is compared to a an equivalent amount of leather.

    Maybe that would get people thinking a bit deeper.

  5. bootsy says:

    meat outfits on celebrities are not the enemy. this is so dumb.

  6. lili says:

    Without getting into a huge debate I just think it’s a gross dress. Didn’t your mother or father teach you not to wear your food?

  7. darien82493 says:

    wow…lady gaga makes me sick.

    honestly…if you had actual talent you wouldnt have to pull all these outrageous stunts with clothing to get attention.

    if i were lady gaga i would spend my money on singing lessons instad of all those repulsive outfits that she wears because that autotuner is getting kind of annoying.

    xoxo darien jade<3

  8. xoriu says:

    Lady Gaga isn’t a singer, never claimed to be. She’s horrible at it. What she IS, is an entertainer. Her show is about exactly that, the SHOW

  9. aljefferson says:

    Exactly, Lady Gaga is just an entertainer.

  10. stylevulture (@stylevulture) says:

    Really interesting, I’ve never thought of an outfit in environmental impact terms!

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