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Hot Mess


3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Beef Is Bad for the Climate...But How Bad?

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  • This video from Hot Mess presents an overview of the effects that beef production has on climate change and land use. 
  • Students will learn that (per pound) cows produce more greenhouse gases than other livestock animals raised for meat and that cattle production is a leading cause of deforestation. 
Teaching Tips


  • The quick pace of the video will keep students interested and engaged. 
  • Visual aids, including bar graphs, line graphs, and diagrams, help to ground the statistics in the video. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video begins with an advertisement.
  • Students should understand that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Students can watch this NowThis Earth video to learn more background information on methane.


  • Ethics and health classes could use this video to discuss the pros and cons of grass-fed, silvopasture, and feedlot beef or look at other types of feed, such as seaweed.
  • History classes could research historical beef production and consumption in an effort to better understand the role beef (and other meat) plays in the modern diet.
  • Health classes and science classes could use this as a starting point for lessons about the nutritional benefits of plant-based diets, the many other environmental impacts of livestock production, and challenge students to bring in their favorite meatless recipe in order to compile a meatless cookbook.
  • Other resources on this topic include this foodprint calculator, this video from the YEARS Project, this StC lesson plan, this video on the problems surrounding animal agriculture, and this video on the potential of lab-grown meat.
Scientist Notes
The resource provides relevant information on the carbon footprints of meat and dairy production. This is insightful to inform our decision in meat production and consumption globally. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 6.ESS3.3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • 4.LS1.1 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
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