Change the Plate, Before it's too Late
- Prediction 1: If our world doesn't try to continue to cut down on their meat, egg, and dairy consumption--the effects of global warming will continue to deteriorate the planet
- Consuming animal byproducts from the factory farmed meat industry indeed contributes to the environmental matters of climate change, air pollution, water pollution, water scarcity, global warming, and non-renewable energy costs. There are many different layers to consider in explaining this complicated matter. Using cows as an example, are massive sized animals, hence they require a lot of space. About 26% of Earth’s land is used for livestock grazing, and 33% of crop lands are used for livestock feed production (FAO of the United Nations). In order to obtain more land since there is such a high demand for meat leads to cutting down trees, acres of forest, and clearing out land. Then the amount of water needed to produce feed is also a major factor behind the water footprint of animal products. To produce just one pound of beef, requires about 308 gallons of water (USDA’s Agricultural Research). These issues considered are just from the process of manufacturing cattle, many more problems emerge from the cattle themselves.
- Prediction 2: Lab grown meat will become a food norm within the next decade
- I have touched on this topic briefly in some of my other blog post but wanted to go more into detail here. Lab grown meat is an alternative that could completely change the world of agriculture and reduce the damaging effects of the consumption of meat on the environment. A company called “JUST” has recently patented this new science that utilizes machine learning for food ingredient discovery. They are one of a handful of tech companies working to disrupt the meat production industry. The process starts with a tissue sample of a living animal, no animals are killed in the process, from that stem cells are isolated then nutrient dense serum encourages them to multiply then they are fed with protein that build muscle & fat cells, the meat can then be harvested, prepared, and served. Lab grown meat requires no farming, no feeding of livestock, and no slaughterhouses. Another goal of JUST is to transcend the “vegan vs. Carnivore" paradigm.
- Prediction 3: The animal agriculture industry will start to experiment or incorporate silvopasture methods and practices
- Another intriguing prediction of an alternative that scientist have been investigating into is the strategy of silvopasture. Silvopasture is a method that combines tree crops with livestock production on the same unit of land. The land is specifically managed to produce trees, tree crops, products, forage, and livestock. The trees and pastured are managed as a single integrated system. Silvopasture can provide an economic return while creating a sustainable system with many environmental benefits. The Association for Temperate Agroforestry reports that silvopasture “...adds a long-term timber while maintaining forage production provides more income than grazing alone... Nitrogen-fixing forage species, pasture fertilization and animal manure all help improve the soil and tree nutrition... a more biologically diverse system, wildlife habitat is also created.”