Facts and figures within this post can be found in the documentary called Forks Over Knives and the Write up form National Geographic, May 2014 Food Article by Jim Richardson.
Did you know in the beginning of the 20th century that each person on average was consuming 120lbs of meat annually? Obviously some people ate more than others however the meat consumption of the U.S. was @ approximately 120lbs per person per year. If you think about it, that is not very much meat for one person for the entire year. Over the years this number began to increase and by 2007 it had almost doubled just in the U.S. The meat consumption per person was up around 223lbs per person per year. Not just meat consumption but all animal products. Dairy, in the 1900’s was at about 300lbs per person, by the year 2000 that doubled to approximately 605lbs per person. That’s a lot of milk and cheese! Milk is like drinking liquid flesh, honestly after doing some research on cow milk it is not very good for you. Yes it is full of calcium which is good for your bones however because it is loaded with calcium and not magnesium it can cause a reverse effect. Calcium and magnesium are both needed to strengthen your bones. If too much calcium enters your body and is not balanced then it has been known to steal magnesium from your bones causing counterproductive results. Research shows that Calcium needs magnesium to be productive? In a whole foods plant based diet not only is there plenty of calcium in veggies but there is also the perfect proportion of magnesium to produce very productive results for your body.
Environmental Impact from Animal products and world hunger
When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner. But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet.
Quoted from National Geographic, May 2014, Jim Richardson,
Agriculture is amongst the greats contributors to global warming, emitting more greenhouse gases than all our cars, trucks, trains and airplanes combined – largely from the methane released by cattle and rice farms, nitrous oxide from the fertilized fields and carbon dioxide from the cutting of the rain forests to growing crops or raising livestock. Farming is also one of the thirstiest users of our precious water supplies and a major polluter, as runoff from fertilizers and manure disrupts fragile lakes, rivers, and coastal ecosystems across the globe.
It is estimated that we will have two billion more mouths to feed by mid-century, which is more than nine billion people. As more animal products are in demand so is corn and soy beans in order to feed the cattle, pigs, and chickens. If the rise continues we will need to double our crop production just to feed the cattle, pigs and chickens! These estimates would then leave nearly 850 Million people in the world still hungry.
How can the world double the availability of food while simultaneously cutting the environmental harm caused by agriculture?
It would be far easier to feed nine billion people by 2050 if more of the crops we grew ended up in human stomachs. Today only 55% of the world’s crop calories feed people directly; the rest are fed to livestock (About 36%) our turned into biofuels and industrial products (9%). Though many of us consume meat, dairy, and eggs from animals raised on feedlots, only a fraction of the calories we feed given to livestock make their way into the meat and milk that we consume. For every 100 calories of grain we feed animals, we get only about 40 new calories of milk, 22 calories of eggs, 12 calories of chicken, 10 of pork, and only 3 calories of beef.
Let me repeat that: 100 Calories of GRAIN = 3 Calories of BEEF. Let’s do some quick math. Let’s say you consume 2000 calories a day. The farmer grows 20,000 calories of grain, this will feed you for 10 days. Let’s say you would rather have meat instead of grain so the 20,000 calories gets fed to the Cow. For ease of math we will round up, 20,000 calories of grain is turned into 7000 calories of meat. This will feed you for 3 1/2 days. Do you see how fast this adds up? Seriously, if we cut back on meat consumption and started eating the farmed food instead of feeding to the animal’s world starvation would cease to exist.
Even switching from grain fed beef to meats like chicken or pastured raised beef could free up a substantial amount of food.
There is an estimated 25% of the world’s food calories that are lost or wasted before they can be consumed: Transportation, Homes, restaurants, and supermarkets. 25% wasted…
Another prospective with slightly different variation of numbers from Forks over Knives: The amount of food fed to animal’s vs humans is @ about 60% higher and that’s a conservative estimate, some says as high as 80%. Same with the amount of energy and the amount of Land, the animals get 60 – 80% of what humans get.
It takes over 10 times the amount of energy from fossil fuels to produce one calorie of animal food vs one calorie of plant food. Over 20% of rain forest have been destroyed since 1970’s and 80% of this land is covered by livestock. Cattle alone eat enough grain to feed nearly 8.7 billion people. That’s nearly 2 billion more than the population on earth. There are approximately one million malnourished people across the globe, redirecting this food could feed everybody on the planet and have enough left over for 2 billion more. According to the United Nations livestock have a greater effect on global warming then the entire transportation industry.
In summary if we continue down this road starvation will continue to exist, disease will increase, life expectancy will decrease and our children will have to make some drastic changes in order to keep up with the demands of this meat eating world.
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