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Eating meat has a huge impact on the environment by fueling climate change, polluting soils and waterways.
Recycling or taking the bus instead of driving to work is important, but scientists are increasingly pointing to a more profound lifestyle change that would be the best way to help the planet: eat a lot less meat.
A wealth of research launched over the past year has uncovered the strong impact that meat consumption, especially beef and pork, has on the environment by fueling climate change and polluting landscapes and waterways.
Industrialized agriculture and the onset of the worst species extinction crisis since the disappearance of the dinosaurs means that livestock and humans now account for 96% of all mammals. But despite consuming the vast majority of farmland, meat and dairy products account for only 18% of all food calories and about a third of protein.
The powerful footprint of farmed meat is not only inefficient. Deforestation to make way for livestock, along with methane emissions from cows and the use of fertilizers, generates as many greenhouse gas emissions as all the world's cars, trucks and planes. Meat raising practices put other animals at risk of mass extinctions, as well as generating significant pollution of streams, rivers and, ultimately, the ocean
In October, scientists warned that large cuts in meat consumption are required if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, and meat consumption in Western countries must decline by 90%, replaced by five times as many beans and legumes. .
Consumption of pork, milk and eggs will also need to decline dramatically, all as the world's population increases by an additional 2 billion people by 2050. The researchers said a global shift toward a "flexitarian" diet will be necessary. to help maintain globality.
A number of measures have been suggested to achieve this, ranging from a tax on red meat to feeding on seaweed to reducing the methane that escapes in your burps. Some advocates have promoted eating insects instead of pork chops and steaks.
A more likely path may be the advancement of vegetarianism through lab-grown meats and the popularity of vegan substitutes like the impossible burger, which even "bleeds." Whichever way change is achieved, there is hope that 2019 will be a pivotal year in the overhaul of a bankrupt global food system.
By Oliver Milman
Original article (in English)