What would happen to the planet if no one ate meat anymore?
A few days ago we spoke here at Mega Curioso about the vegan lifestyle and in the same text we explained the differences between vegan, lactovegetarian, strict vegetarian and ovolactovegetarian habits. Slate recently published a text that addresses the likely environmental and economic impacts we would perceive in a world where no one else ate meat.
The first appeal of the publication is very clear: raising animals for slaughter is responsible for the emission of 14.5% of polluting gases that are destroying our atmosphere and contributing to the climate change of the planet. According to the author of the article, LV Anderson, "As the population grows and eats more animal products, the consequences for climate change, pollution and land use can be catastrophic." If you do not understand the relationship between one thing and another, rest assured that we will explain.
According to Anderson, while there is an effort to reduce consumption, such as the suggestion of meatless Monday, it is essential that the entire planet is willing to change habits and be convinced of the importance of this change. That's a tough goal, don't you think?
Assuming that suddenly everyone stopped eating meat, what would happen? Of course this will never possibly happen, but as we are assuming, it is interesting to look at the impact this change would have on the planet.
In 2009, a group of Dutch researchers decided to figure out the changes the world would undergo if all people consumed less meat, zero meat or no animal products.
Global veganism, which would happen if the entire population of the world ceased to consume any food of animal origin, would reduce carbon emissions to the atmosphere by 17%; 24% methane emissions; and by 21% the emission of nitrous oxide. This is all if we stopped consuming animal products now and reevaluated the health of the planet in 2050. Similar results would also be achieved in the case of global vegetarianism.
In addition, researchers have come to the conclusion that global veganism or vegetarianism would also be the cheapest way to solve the problems caused by overheating on the planet. It must be made clear that this would not offset the problems caused by other forms of pollution, such as burning fuel, but would have a really positive impact.
The researchers explained that they did not assess the economic changes that a vegan or vegetarian world would bring about, nor did they look at the issue from the point of view of the consequences of diet change - here it is worth pointing out that vegans and vegetarians generally pay greater attention to the quality of their diet. foods they consume, so the intention is not to deprive themselves of nutrients, that is: it is not enough just to stop consuming a series of products, we must start to eat others that replace them in nutritional value.
Although the study did not disclose results based on the effects of this hypothetical change, it is obvious that this different dietary model would cause a major economic downturn. According to a 2006 survey, the production of animal items employs 1.3 billion people - of which 987 million are considered poor.
Some of these people, such as maize farmers who sell grain for animal feed, would have to think of other investment niches. In the case of the poorest people, so that the risk of unemployment would not leave them in misery at once, it would be ideal for the world to become vegetarian rather than vegan, so that only meat would no longer be consumed, and not all products of animal origin.
Another major economic impact that could possibly be brought about by this change in consumption would be in relation to land. Currently, 26% of the planet's ice-free land is used for raising animals for slaughter. It is estimated that 2.7 billion hectares of land would be cleared without animal pasture and 100 million hectares would no longer be used for livestock. While not all of these lands are ideal for human occupation, it can be said that buying land would be much cheaper.
Regarding human health, it is believed that a vegetarian diet would leave us free from antibiotic resistance. Thanks to the medicines used to raise animals for slaughter, we gradually became resistant to these drugs. It is estimated that in the US alone at least 2 million people get sick each year due to acquired resistance to these drugs.
In his article, Anderson comments on these possibilities as something that is unlikely to really happen - and she seems to be right, doesn't she? Either way, this data shows us how our daily choices impact the environment, the global economy, and our health.
She suggests that if possible we have more control over what we consume. Organic foods, for example, do not use pesticides - in the case of organic meat, animals are not bred with hormones and slaughter is considered less cruel. Anderson also suggests a reduction in meat consumption from methane-producing animals such as cattle and mutton.
The author also reminds us that the world population should be larger by 2050: around 9 billion. To house all these people, at least 25 percent of the land intended for slaughter animals would need to be re-occupied by these new families. Tell us what you think about this subject.