Am sure you enjoy that juicy meat , whether roasted, barbecued or stir fried. However, as you slice into that juicy cut of meat, your are cutting your chance of survival for the next generation. Despite the many adverse effects associated with consuming excessive fatty foods, there is more damage occurring to the environment.

A platter of food with meat
A platter of food with meat

The Meat Problem

Meat consumption has doubled over the last half of the century. 90 percent of the world solely relies on meat for nourishment and is expected that the demand will increase by 160 percent by 2050.

Meat
Meat

In 2019 alone, over 200 million tons of meat have been consumed globally. The number is rising.  America and Australia have been listed to be the biggest consumers of meat. The consumers in these countries have been reported to consuming 100 kg (200 lbs) of meat , which is equivalent to 50 chickens and about 1.5 cows per person! This is where the problems lie. Below is a list why eating beef is bad for the environment;

Water Wastage

One kilogram (2.2 pounds) of beef requires an estimated 15,500 liters (4095 gallons) of water to produce. This translates to 63 million liters (17 million gallons) of water per second being used to reproduce enough beef for consumption.  Production of meat has continued to cause a global shortage of water in the United States,China and India. These are three top producers of food in the world. In the verge of rivers drying , meat farming and production has continued to utilise the water needed to drink.

Waste Production

Meat farming produces extensive waste that has provided a recycling problem. It is estimated that livestock produces over 13 billion tonnes of waste per year. This waste ends up in the already over utilised water sources. Secondly , the excessive waste also causes a waste management and collection nightmare.

Livestock pollution
Livestock pollution

Also in the reducing forest cover, livestock farming has contributed to increasing green house emissions. Shockingly , Cow farts and other gases have been attributed to contributing about 18 percent of the total green house gases.

Natural Resources

Since 90 percent of the world is fed through meat, it means that there needs plenty of the arable land be dedicated to meat production. Due to the high demand , farmers are continuously clearing land to plant fodder and other animal feeds. On the other hand, meat production is inefficient as it requires more energy to produce meat than it does for plants. For instance, it requires 54 calories of fuel to produce 1 calorie of meat protein while it requires 2-3 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie from soy bean.

 

In light of these factors, eating meat is becoming more unsustainable. By 2050 , meat consumption will have caused more damage than smoking cigarettes. 

There are many solutions to curbing this environmental problem. Maybe we should minimize meat intake and turn vegetarian? Well, policy change maybe the solution.