My goal is to find a way to grow enough food to support the human population and still keeping land wild for wildlife and wild habitats. I understand that we, as a human race, will not save a deer if that means a child starves to death. Now I am wondering what people would be willing to give up or what changes they are willing to make in their daily lives to help the Earth accommodate the growing number of humans, and all the stuff they want.
Globally the middle class is growing. As more people enter the middle class they use their increased disposable to buy more meats and other animal products. The problem is that animals produce waste, which is not a problem with plants. Plants expire breathable oxygen, while animals excrete carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These three gasses are considered greenhouse gases (GHG) and are leading causing in global warming. Each of these gases has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) value that measures how much each gas contributes to global warming. Carbon has a GWP of 1, methane of 25 and nitrous oxide has a GWP of 298.
Livestock are not the only producers of GHG. Another example is transportation vehicles. To put the amount of GHG produced by livestock and the transportation sector into perspective, 18% of GHG comes from livestock and only 14% from transportation, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Doubling the amount of livestock grown in the next 10 years will have huge implications on the GHGs emitted.
And the solution that was brought up in The New Yorker and The Atlantic this week, eat insects! It’s still meat right? High in protein? And the advantage from a GHG point of view is that raising a beef cow releases over 1,800 times more carbon dioxide than raising an equivalent amount of crickets. For a table showing more comparisons click here.
Honestly, I’d rather cut my consumption and eat a less beef and a lot more plants and skip the crickets… but that’s just me.