This article looks into meat and sustainability. This is the first in a multi part series looking into meat consumption and how sustainable this is.
I was recently reading the book Meat the Truth, which is a compilation of essays by various authors and is edited by Niko Koffeman. This is an excellent book, with many interesting perspectives on meat consumption and sustainability. I learned a lot from reading this book and I would encourage anyone who is interested in this topic to buy the book and read it for themselves.
There is also a documentary that goes alongside the book, that is also interesting and well worth watching.
I was extremely pleased to see the news last week that the IPCC’s August report Climate Change and Land brought up the impact that meat consumption had on driving climate change. With the corollary being that more people enjoying plant-based lifestyles would reduce the food sectors impact on climate change.
Global meat consumption will double in the next 50 years
This 4-part series looking into meat and sustainability will be broken down into a number of themes. This week’s article will look into the FAO prediction that meat consumption will double in 50 years. This is a truly stunning prediction that is worthy of further investigation.
One of my favourite chapters in Meat the Truth was chapter 2 by Kirsten Oleson titled, The Hidden Environmental Costs of Meat Trade. In it she delivers the following stunning critique:
“All phases of livestock production result in significant environmental impacts, whose costs are rarely factored into the market price of the products sold.”
Chapter 3 was also very interesting; it was by Danielle Nierenberg and it was titled Impact of Growth in Factory Farming in Developing World. She highlights the following:
“The strongest rise in farm animal production has been in the developing world.”
“Much of the current demand for meat, egg, and dairy products is being met by industrial animal operations that are spreading across the developing world.”
Mark Bittman also contributed to the debate with his offering on Overconsumption for chapter 8. Of the FAO prediction that meat production will double by 2050, he had the following to say:
“The truth is that to meet these numbers, the world needs factory farms. There is no other method that can produce these quantities of meat, eggs, and dairy. It follows then, that the only way to reduce fact0ry farming is to demand less meat.”
What you need to know
This article looked into meat and sustainability. It is the first part of a multi part series looking into this topic and is based around the conclusions of the book Meat the Truth.
Meat consumption and climate change has been in the news again recently, and rightly so. It is therefore important that this topic is explored to its fullest extent.
This particular article explored the FAO prediction that global meat consumption will double in the next 50 years and what that means.
It unquestionably means more factory farming; it means more environmental impacts and it means the spreading of a misguided western diet to billions of people in the developing world.
This is something which needs to be brought to the public’s attention and the benefits of alternatives more heavily promoted.
Thank you for reading,
By Barnaby Nash
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think of the relation between meat and sustainability?