This graph shows that land is only 29% of the surface of the earth, habitable land only 71% of the land (rest is glaciers and barren), and of that 50% is used for agriculture, 37% used for forests, and 11% for shrubs. (Often not really arable lands). Because it’s cheaper and easier and near our rivers, we’ve already used the BEST arable lands. So how are we using the BEST half of the non-ice surface of the land on this planet earth? 77% goes to grazing livestock and 22% crops – and about a third of those crops also go to feeding livestock.
Yet it also shows us that we actually get more calories from our crops, and they do vastly less damage in a vastly smaller area. After all, it’s ultimately about turning sunlight into food, and plants do that far better than cows that eat plants.
“Still skeptical? Well, the problem is, the math just doesn’t add up. We can’t eat meat at the rate we do in a sustainable world. Listen: This source claims that to feed just one omnivorous human requires more than three acres of land while all it takes to produce food for a vegan is one-sixth of an acre. And with more than seven billion people sharing the earth’s 7.68 billion acres of arable land, that would be an even split of about an acre apiece—plenty of space for growing all the food we need and enjoying what’s left for camping, backpacking, kayaking and wildlife watching—except that habitual meat-eating omnivores are using three times their own share of space, requiring that precious wild lands be used for raising animals.”
It gets worse. By 2050 demographers at the UN expect we’ll have an extra 2 billion people to share this world with. That’s an extra India and 2 extra Americas. Think they’re all going to be able to eat beef mince and steak and sausages whenever they want to?
What’s got me fired up about all this? I’ve been a fan of the whole Rebel Burger food movement for a while now. They’ve grown that bloody, meaty flavour into soy beans. Heme. The magic that makes soy taste like meat. A little bit of food-tech and weaving of soy and coconut textures together, and you’ve got a burger that almost tastes like a beef patty. But now the American meat lobbies are attacking the PBB (Plant-Based-Beef) movement, asking them to ban them using the term ‘Beef’ or ‘meat’ on the package at all. They argue “If you’re going for a plant-based diet, why is there a push to make it the taste and texture of a meat product that you’re trying to get people to stop eating?”
Why? It’s not rocket science. Because by and large, most Aussies I know love meat. There are also cultural and institutional inertia to consider. Almost every meat eating Aussie I know says “I’ll stop eating meat when they can make veggies taste like meat and cheaper than meat.” They also want the convenience of fast-food – and don’t want to be told to change their whole lifestyle and stop ordering burgers to save the planet. When you’re starving on a Friday night and are rushing to take the kids out on the road for a holiday, sometimes fast-food is irresistible. Which is precisely why I’m a fan of the Rebel Burger and Dominos “Plant Based beef.” It’s slowly introducing the concept of vegetarianism to both our Aussie culture and the mammoth fast-food industry and supply chains. It’s changing demand. And I can only hope that they are successful and get to keep using the terms beef and chicken and pork and fish, as long as they put “Plant-based” in front of it. And if some consumers are tricked into eating a plant-based beef burger, maybe it will do them some good?
Also see Restorative Food
Also see how Adelaide Scientists are also working on algae based food that would vastly increase our potential food supply many thousands of times.