A new report reveals just how seriously human beings need to alter our eating habits if we’re to have any hope of stopping climate change.
We are in a critical moment for climate change. The human population is growing, carbon emissions are pouring out at an alarming rate, and we use half of the world's vegetated land for agricultural purposes. Our food production, especially with its focus on meat consumption, accounts for 25-30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. As the population grows and if retain current food consumption habits, we're going to have to cut down and convert forested lands two times the size of India to meet those agricultural demands.
We need to feed people, especially as the population grows, and we're already failing to feed the millions of people starving to this day. But our meat-centered diet is not sustainable, according to a report by the World Resources Institute.
From the report:
"Ruminant livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) use two-thirds of global agricultural land and contribute roughly half of agriculture’s production-related emissions. Ruminant meat demand is projected to grow by 88 percent between 2010 and 2050.
Yet, even in the United States, ruminant meats (mostly beef) provide only 3 percent of calories. Closing the land and GHG mitigation gaps requires that, by 2050, the 20 percent of the world’s population who would otherwise be high ruminant-meat consumers reduce their average consumption by 40 per cent relative to their consumption in 2010."
The report recommends a 22 item "menu for a sustainable future" that is designed to reduce the carbon emission of meat production, limit the amount of agricultural land needed for expanded food demands, help repair the damage done to forest land, and begin reducing the dependency on red meat. The plan also recommends increasing fish supplies through wild hatcheries and other aquaculture.
An all vegetable diet is best, but even if you don't want to go that far then you can change up your diet to incorporate less meat. Cutting your meat consumption by half will create a dramatic change in both your health and on the impact you have on the environment.