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By 2050 the world's population could approach 10 billion
and around 60 percent more food could be needed to feed everyone.
[Marco Springmann] The environmental impacts of the food system are daunting.
It's responsible for about a quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions
and uses about 70 percent of all fresh water
resources and it occupies about 40 percent of the Earth's land surface.
Food-created emissions could increase
to 50 percent by 2050 and fill up
the total emissions budget that we have in order to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.
Interest in vegan food has been booming across the rich world.
A major study has put the diet to the test,
analyzing an imagined scenario in which the world goes vegan by 2050.
[Marco Springmann] If everybody went vegan
by 2050 we estimated that the food-related greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by three quarters.
Cows are the biggest emission contributors.
Bugs in their digestive system produce methane
and deforestation for their pasture releases carbon dioxide.
These gases warm the planet.
If cows were a country, they'd be the
third largest greenhouse gas emitter.
I'm a ninth generation farmer in this area.
I grew up on a farm with cows and feeding bulls.
Jaap Korteweg comes from a long line of farmers in the Netherlands.
My goal is to be the biggest butcher in the world.
To be doing it for meat lovers,
but if you don't like meat,
don't buy our products.
But he's now a butcher with a difference.
I'm the Vegetarian Butcher.
We are hooked on the taste of meat,
so the only way to change it is to
develop products with the same experience without an animal.
We can produce beef as big as a front door with the right texture of real beef.
The equipment we use in our plant-based plants
is the same as in the meat factory.
The only difference is there is no blood on the floor.
Jaap made the switch to plant-based meat 11 years ago.
He now ships to 17 countries with annual sales of 20 million Euros.
The ingredients we use are different.
We use soy, we use lupine,
we use wheat, we use peas.
We look to the meat product we want to copy
and look for the right ingredients to get the same experience.
Farmed animals are land hungry.
Over 80 percent of the world's farmland is used for animal production.
But it produces only 18 percent of the world's calories.
You need to feed a cow
about 10 kilograms of mostly grains
for it to grow by one kilogram.
For pigs that's about six kilogram
and for chicken, three to four kilogram.
So a lot of food is wasted as feed for animals that we would then eat.
Growing animal feed means more land per calorie of food is needed to produce beef than broccoli.
Two-thirds of all
agriculture land is used as pastures
and if you saved all those pastures
if people went vegan
then that would be the size of the continent of Africa that would be freed.
And a well-balanced vegan diet,
more varied, with less calories could save lives.
If the world went vegan in 2050,
we estimated that premature mortality,
and also all cause mortality,
could be reduced by about 20 percent.
Which could make the global economy healthier too.
We know how much money
is used to treat certain diseases that are associated with diets.
Coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.
Then we get to an estimate of about one trillion U.S. dollars in 2050 that could be saved.
That would be about three percent of all home health care related cost.
But global meat consumption is growing around the world by almost three percent a year since 1960.
Nobody like the way we treat animals in factory farms.
Nobody like the situation that is not good for our health, not good for the environment,
but we all like meat very much.
While Jaap's firm threatens meat farmers, meat companies and butchers are customers and partners.
Meat companies don't own the farmers, so it's easy to change from chickens or pigs to plant-based meat.
If the consumers want it and the market want it
they're happy to change.
Affordable and accessible alternatives could yet see the rich world hit peak meat and head down the other side.
If you look at past trends
it's probably unlikely to assume
that the world would really go vegan by 2050.
We found that without large scale dietary changes
towards more plant-based diets, we would have
a very slim chance of staying below dangerous levels of climate change.
But even moving towards a plant-based diet could help.
Coming to our estimates of
predominantly plant-based diet could
get us probably three-quarters of the way.
Governments can play a crucial role by setting the right dietary guidelines.
They can adopt procurement policies
where it's clear that the standard foods that are ordered are plant-based, healthy and sustainable.
For the Vegetarian Butcher,
plant-based meat is just the next step in a long history of developments in the farming world.
It's always changing in the agriculture world.
A hundred years ago there were millions of draft horses to transport, to plow.
Now they are threatened with extinction
because we don't need work horses anymore.
In the future you will use machines
to produce our meat and the slaughter animals
will be threatened with extinction too.
And we only had room for wild chicken and wild pigs.
And that's the future, I hope.
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How could veganism change the world? | The Economist

232 Folder Collection
April Lu published on June 26, 2019    Jerry Liu translated    Evangeline reviewed
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