Significant progress on the climate and biodiversity crisis is within reach and it’s such a simple solution…

But you’re not going to like it.

Actually, it’s not that bad. You just need to be open to it.

And that ‘it’ is giving up meat or cutting back on it.

Cutting out meat has 2 big wins attached to it. The first is in cutting climate emissions. The second, much bigger win, is in combating biodiversity loss.

Cutting carbon

The world is currently making great strides in renewable energy production and it’s having a huge impact on carbon emissions. That progress looks set to continue. Something you can expect to see, alongside more renewable energy, is storage options for that energy. This could include batteries and hydrogen. Renewable energy derived hydrogen, as well as storing excess renewable energy, will probably go on to be used to power aircraft.

Roughly two thirds of carbon emissions come from electricity production and transport. This means that switching to renewable energy and electric transport can cut those emissions by about two thirds.

Carbon emissions from animal agriculture contribute around 15% to total emissions. The bulk of those emissions come from cows. So even if you don’t give up meat entirely, if you cut out beef and milk, that’ll have the most impact.

Switching to a plant-based diet will cut your food related carbon emissions by around a whopping 73%.

Reversing biodiversity loss

The second and perhaps bigger win with cutting out meat, is the huge amount of land area that would be freed up that could be used for both climate and biodiversity loss mitigation. There are a variety of ways you could calculate the land area gain, but it’s somewhere in the region of reclaiming 35% of the entire ‘habitable’ land surface area of the Earth. 35%!

YES, 35%!

That’s about 25% of the entire land surface area of planet Earth (including ice and deserts). That’s what we’d gain for wildlife if we stopped eating meat. And that’s not even including the oceans and eating/not eating fish. (That’s for another blog).

To put it another way, that’s the equivalent of the entire combined land surface of the United States, China, Canada, Russia and Australia! All given over to rewilding, biodiversity and carbon capture!

This pie chart represents all the ‘habitable land’ on Earth. (It’s about 71% of all land.) Of that, 50% is forests, 38% is animal agriculture (inc. crops to feed animals, 11% is crops to feed humans and 1% is urban.

Now if we take away the animal agriculture (inc. crops to feed animals), look what happens! The forest/wild cover jumps to around 84%! Crops for humans rises by only 4%.

(I’ve simplified the figures, but it’s essentially correct).

It’s simply more efficient to grow plants to feed people than to grow plants to feed animals that are then fed to people. If we stop eating meat, we free up that huge land surface for wildlife.

Just think of all the extra forest cover the Earth could have and all the wildlife that could grow into that extra space.

Destruction of the Amazon always springs to mind. A whopping 80% of Amazonian destruction goes into animal pasture. Of the remaining 20% destruction, most of that goes into soya production, 80% of which goes into… you guessed it… animal feed.

On top of that, as forests regrow over huge areas, they soak up carbon and help fight climate change.

It’s just so simple, it’s ridiculous! It’s overwhelmingly obvious.

Give. Up. Meat.


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