Is a plant-based, vegan diet the answer to our world’s growing food needs?
One of the tenets of the “green revolution” is that GMOs and chemical pesticides are necessary to feed our growing world population. These biotech companies have a lot of money to throw around to promote that idea, but lately there has been some noise about alternative ways that we can feed the world.
Last week, we took a look at a group of activists who think that urban farming needs to play a strong role in feeding the world, and before that Danielle Nierenberg talked about organic agriculture’s untapped potential. Yesterday, Zach talked about the UN’s call for more sustainable farming to feed the world population. I recently ran across another idea from the UN aimed at addressing this problem: a vegan diet.
The UN released a report showing that the Western diet, heavy on animal products and by-products, is unsustainable and calling for people to move away from animal foods in order to reduce fuel consumption and the amount of land and water necessary to feed us.
Producing animal products is highly inefficient. Instead of growing corn, soybeans, and grain for people to eat, we have to pass all of that food through animals in order to sustain our taste for meat, dairy, and eggs. Meat and other animal products come with a hefty environmental impact. 70 percent of freshwater consumption and 38 percent of total land use are for agricultural production. Additionally, 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases come from agricultural production. How many more people could we feed if we reclaimed that water and land to grow food that people could eat directly?
Not only could a vegan diet help us feed the world, but we could do so without relying on dangerous chemicals like Monsanto’s Roundup (that are killing the soil and linked to birth defects) and genetically modified foods.
Need some tips on moving towards a more plant-based diet? Our Eating Vegan series can help! Here are a few articles to get you started:
- Eating Vegan: The Cheese Problem
- Eating Vegan: Answering the Chocolate Question
- Eating Vegan: Where Do You Get Your Protein?
- Eating Vegan: Answering the Egg Question
- Eating Vegan: Tasty Milk Alternatives
What do you guys think? I know we’ve got a mix of vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores out there, and I’d love to hear from you on this one!
h/t: Planet Green
[Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by JIGGS IMAGES]