Impactful Eating — For Health, Climate Change, World Hunger, & The Environment
The nutrients you chose to consume at every hour and every meal have a massive impact on your own health, as well as the world around you. The primary purpose of my blog is to help others make good choices about their future, as well as the future of this planet.
Impactful Eating For Health
I can cite study, after study of the benefits of eating more (or all) plants. For the purpose of keeping this article brief, if you would like to read more, I have written about this extensively in the following blog posts:
Why I Hate The Ketogenic Diet Craze (With reference to over 1200 studies on diet and health, as well as plant-based diets).
Impactful Eating For World Hunger
It amazes me that the 7 billion humans on the planet produce enough crops to feed 14 billion humans, but OVER HALF of those crops are fed to farmed (human bred, artificially inseminated) animals, while 852 million humans go hungry, and 3.1 million children die every year due to starvation / malnutrition.
Feed Vs. Food
In addition to not feeding the hungry with crops we already produce (mainly grain, corn, and soy), farmed animals consume more than they produce. This is determined by Feed Conversion Ratios which measure the amount of feed crops needed to produce a unit of meat and thus a unit of energy. In other words, what portion of plant energy dedicated to raising animals becomes edible calories in the form of meat, dairy, and eggs. For every 100 calories fed to farmed animals, we receive only 17–30 calories in the form of meat or milk.
Source: Compassion In World Farming https://www.ciwf.org.uk/media/7425974/industrial-livestock-production-the-twin-myths-of-efficiency-and-necessity.pdf
Here are the output ratios:
Percent/Units of Edible Output per 100 Units of Feed
- Poultry — Calories — 11% — Protein 20%
- Pigs — Calories — 10% — Protein 15%
- Cows/Beef — Calories — 1% — Protein — 4%
Source: World Resources Institute (w/UN & WB): Creating a Sustainable Food Future, p.37
Producing crops (soy, corn, wheat, etc.) for animal feed is many times more resource-intensive than using crops for direct human consumption. With 75% of all agricultural land used for animal production — and more than a third of global calories and half of global protein inefficiently used as animal feed, animal production for consumption is inefficient.
(Read more about US land use for cattle production in my post “41% of US Land Is Used For Livestock Production“)
Shifting From Feed To Food
Shifting the crops used for feed and other uses (bio-fuels) towards direct human food consumption could increase calories in the food system by 70%. This is enough food calories feed just over 1 billion people a 2700 calories per day diet for a year (which is 985 500 calories per year).
Source: “Redefining agricultural yields: from tonnes to people nourished per hectare” http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/034015/meta
Government Policy Vs. Individual Choice
There aren’t many governments helping to make these shifts from feed to food, or creating policy that would limit consumption of animal products. Most governments and economies are trying to meet supply and demand and they often allow corporations to take over much of that process.
The bottom line is that we each make a choice to either contribute to world hunger and global food insecurity by our greed and our palettes, or to help others by our changing our dietary patterns. We need to vote with our consumer dollars to create this shift and to be part of helping the rest of humanity.
Impactful Eating For Climate Change
If you have not seen the hundreds of articles on food choices and climate change, I would contend that you have not paid attention. Animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has been saying for MANY YEARS that we need to eat for climate impact. They wrote an extensive 416 page paper in 2006 entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” stating clearly that there is a “very substantial contribution of animal agriculture to climate change and air pollution, to land, soil and water degradation and to the reduction of biodiversity.” This is not new news.
In the last year, there have been hundreds of articles on the topic:
-Vox produced a viral video with UCLA on the impact of food choices on climate change.
-Forbes wrote “9 Things You Can Do About Climate Change” (#1, become a vegan).
-The Guardian wrote “Why what we eat is crucial to the climate change question“.
-Science Daily wrote “Consumer food choices can help reduce greenhouse emissions contributing to climate change“.
-Mercy For Animals wrote “Eating Meat Is Just as Bad as Denying Climate Change.”
-CNN reports on “These Are The Most Climate-Damaging Foods“. (Beef, Lamb, and Butter are at the top of the list).
-Scientific American wrote “A Hard Look in the Climate Mirror“, asking people to consider a plant-based diet.
-There have been many TedX talks on “Eating Our Way Out Of Climate Change“.
Impactful Eating For The Environment
There are many other environmental concerns when it comes to agriculture. Land use, and water resources are at the top of that list. I have written about land use previously “41% of US land is used for livestock production“.
I want you to PLEASE CLEARLY UNDERSTAND that our food choices are destroying water resources for millions of people.
Our oceans and water ways have become extremely polluted.
If you are still eating sealife and fish, I would encourage you to read my article ‘Toxic Sea’food’ and Fish‘.
Just last year (Oct. 2017) there was a MASSIVE algae bloom in Lake Erie. This is the water resource for millions of Americans. This algae bloom is the result of agricultural run-off (READ: Cow shit from fields) into the rivers and streams and then into Lake Erie. The New York Times did an excellent report on this. Here is the picture of that bloom:
The toxic green slime that is killing marine life, lowering property values, and affecting tourism on Florida’s Gulf Coast right now (Aug. 2018) is a direct result of nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural fertilizers (READ: Cow shit). Bloomberg did an excellent report on this.
In August 2017, Tyson Foods was blamed for the largest ever ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico:
In May of 2018, the Gulf of Oman (The Arabian Sea) had the world’s largest ever dead zone the size of Florida.
I am going to conclude this article here as this is enough information on impactful eating, but let me say this:
PLEASE Start Eating Like You Give A Fuck!
Make a difference and #GoVegan. I have resources here if you need them and tons of recipes on this blog. As always, please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions about my content.
JT @ ARespectfulLife.com