A comprehensive new study has confirmed what all of us committed carnivores have probably known deep down for a very long time: we’re all going to have to seriously cut back our meat consumption if we’re going to have a chance of fighting devastating climate change.
The study, published in the journal Nature, says that beef consumption in western countries will need to drop by as much as 90% in order to mitigate the food system’s impact on our environment. That’s a significant reduction! The study’s authors suggest that beans and legumes would make up the difference in our consumption.
It’s a pretty pressing concern for a number of reasons – not least of which is the fact that there is expected to be ten billion people on the planet in a few decades. The current food system contributes to climate change through massive deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions from livestock and water pollution.
Here’s Professor Prof Johan Rockström at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany:
Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food. Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today.
The alternate diet they’re pitching comes with the incredibly marketable name ‘flexitarian’, which involves drastically cutting back on beef, pork and eggs and upping our intake of beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.
It’s worth noting that the food industry is definitely aware of an incoming mass dietary change – hence all the product research being done into so-called ‘fake meats’. Y’all ready to munch on a burger made of some kind of legume slurry?
But thems the facts, team. We all know the planet is cooking under our feet. Obviously a significant portion of emissions aren’t something we can change as individuals – with the majority of greenhouse gases produced by a handful of huge companies which are going to have to decarbonise one way or another. But our diets are going to have to fundamentally change.Image: Parks & Recreation