Every small gesture counts when it comes to fighting against climate change. The West must drastically reduce its meat consumption as the population is expected to grow rapidly between now and 2050. That's what a new study has insistently called for in its conclusion.
Alarm bells were ringing in the 2018 report by a French intergovernmental climate change research group (GIEC): according to the experts, we don’t have any other choice but to considerably change our lifestyles to curb the dangerous patterns of global warming.
Demographic predictions have established that in 2050 there will be 10 billion people on Earth. In their report, the GIEC experts suggest that in order to adequately tackle the problem of nutrition, the West needs to drastically reduce its meat consumption – by 90%.
A worrying trend
The production of food, and more specifically of meat, currently contributes in very large part to climate change. Greenhouse gases produced by cattle, deforestation on a huge scale and disproportionate water consumption are just some of the problems raised by most current practices.
As a study published in May revealed, livestock currently represents a considerable part of life on earth. Of the mammals living on our planet, 60% are livestock and 36% are humans, while wildlife represents just 4%.
The same goes for birds: 70% of them are chickens or poultry, while wild birds make up only 30%.
A new study published in the journal Nature offers the most comprehensive outlook on the impact of intensive farming to this day. The conclusion of the researchers is irrevocable: coupled with the anticipated increase in the world population to 10 billion, the current trend could have devastating effects on access to food and could lead to an irreversible acceleration of climate change.
Researchers are calling for an immediate paradigm change: a shift towards a vegetable-based diet, a decisive end to food waste, and the improvement of farming practices with the help of technology.
‘No single solution is enough to avoid crossing planetary boundaries,’ warns Marc Springmann, the principal author of the study.
‘But when the solutions are implemented together, our research indicates that it may be possible to feed the growing population sustainably.’
The GIEC report also underlines this point, emphasising that a reform of the industry, an optimisation of solutions and an improvement of individual practices must be combined to protect us from the threat that is looming so dangerously over our heads.