Solution: Reduce Meat Consumption Dramatically

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The truth is, as we currently produce enough food in the world to feed 10 billion people we can unequivocally state there is enough! The truth is also that a meat-based diet requires seven times more land than a plant-based diet. It requires ten to twenty times more energy per edible tonne than grain production. Excess animal waste often ends up in rivers and groundwater, where it contributes to nitrogen, phosphorus, and nitrate pollution.1 The truth is that cutting down significantly or eliminating farmed animals as a food source can significantly contribute to our climate change fight. The truth is that roughly one third of the food produced is currently wasted, in both advanced, industrialized nations and “Third World” countries.2

The truth is that there is more than enough.

An example of how expensive meat consumption by humans is on the environment comes from The Atlantic magazine, with a picture of a large amount of dried soybeans at the top of the story:

"To understand why the climate impact of beef alone is so large, note that the image at the top of this story is a sea of soybeans in a silo in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. The beans belong to a feed lot that holds 38,000 cattle, the growth and fattening of which means dispensing 900 metric tons of feed every day. Which is to say that these beans will be eaten by cows, and the cows will convert the beans to meat, and the humans will eat the meat. In the process, the cows will emit much greenhouse gas, and they will consume far more calories in beans than they will yield in meat, meaning far more clearcutting of forests to farm cattle feed than would be necessary if the beans above were simply eaten by people."3



Notes:

  1. "Meat and the Environment: Facts and resources," Toronto Vegetarian Association, Accessed December 2, 2018, http://veg.ca/2007/02/01/meat-and-the-environment/.
  2. "Key facts on food loss and waste you should know!" Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Accessed December 2, 2018, http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/.
  3. James Hamblin, "If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef, With one dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet greenhouse-gas emission goals." The Atlantic, August 2, 2017 (accessed April 9, 2020), https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/08/if-everyone-ate-beans-instead-of-beef/535536/.