What Would Happen If the World Suddenly Became Vegetarian?

What Would Happen If the World Suddenly Became Vegetarian?
    Americans love their meat, with the average person consuming roughly 198 lbs (90 kg) of
    pork, beef and chicken every year.
    The global average is considerably less, at around 75 lbs (34 kg) per year, but not everyone
    is a meat lover, as around 5% of the world’s population choose to be vegetarian.
    In the USA, close to 5% of people choose this lifestyle compared to 12% of Bris and 30%
    of Indians.
    With the majority of the population currently consuming meat and enjoying burgers, ribs,
    bacon, wings, and steak on a daily basis, what would happen if everyone just stopped?
    How would it affect the economy, our livelihoods, the environment, and our health?
    That’s what we’re going to look into, in this episode of the Infographics Show,
    What Would Happen If the World Suddenly Turned Vegetarian?
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    Squad.
    Economy It is estimated by the North American Meat
    Institute (NAMI) that the meat industry brings $894 billion to the US economy with $95 billion
    of that being for beef alone.
    800,000 people are employed in the meat and poultry business in the US, and millions worldwide,
    so a sudden turn to vegetarianism would mean a huge loss of jobs.
    It would, at the same time, create jobs in different fields.
    Moving into a meat-free lifestyle would have a significant impact on the world’s economy,
    with the meat industry being perceived in value of up to $1.6 trillion by 2050.
    Social Impacts The social impacts of global vegetarianism
    could be devastating for many communities.
    Currently, around 1 billion people dedicate their lives to tending to livestock and lands
    or working in meat factories, so if we stopped eating meat, their livelihoods would be stripped
    from them, losing their income and lands.
    What work could they do instead?
    Many may take to growing and selling fruit, vegetables or wheat crops, or finding another
    source of income.
    The poor could be hit hard with their diet no longer including the nutrition that they
    get from meat with animal products containing many more nutrients than grains and rice.
    There are many cultural and religious traditions that include meat as a focal point, which
    would no longer exist or would have to be altered due to a vegetarian lifestyle.
    Many of the 1.8 billion Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha every year as
    part of the Islamic calendar and as part of this tradition, a goat or sheep is slaughtered
    and some of the meat is offered to poor and needy families.
    In the USA, a longstanding tradition is having a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving dinner,
    but in a meat-free environment, what would be the feature food on our plates?
    Tofurkey?
    Now let’s look at some of the positive impacts a sudden change to vegetarianism would have.
    Environment In a vegetarian world, our environment would
    be much better off, leaving way to a healthier and cleaner planet for future generations.
    Livestock production and the meat industry is thought to be one of the biggest contributors
    to climate change, with a larger impact on the planet than anything else, as 14.5% of
    the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the human activity of meat production.
    Most people do not even think about the effect food has on climate change, but if we stopped
    eating meat, we would be doing our planet a favour with gas emissions being reduced
    significantly.
    Meat production emits much higher gas emissions than fruit and vegetable production, and research
    has shown that the production of beef is so environmentally destructive that it causes
    5 times more climate warming emissions than other animals.
    In the US, an average family of four emit more greenhouse gases due to the meat they
    consume than from having two cars on the road.
    With the sudden change to vegetarianism and the elimination of meat, our food related
    emissions could drop by up to 60-70%.
    Water Another major environmental cost of meat production
    is water usage, with livestock consuming more of our water than anything else, and also
    being one of the largest causes of polluted water.
    The total water footprint for one pound of beef is 200 times that of one pound of plant
    foods.
    One kilo of beef requires 15,000 litres of water before it arrives on your dinner plate,
    while a roast chicken would take up 4,325 litres.
    Globally there are millions of people that do not have access to clean drinking water,
    so if there were less livestock to feed, there would be a lot more water to go around.
    Land According to Dutch scientists, there are currently
    2.7 billion hectares of land being used for cattle grazing with between 20-30% of the
    globe’s ice-free land solely for farming pigs, chicken and cattle.
    Another 100 million hectares on top of that are dedicated to growing the crops that feed
    the livestock.
    In the US, around 700 million tons of food are consumed by livestock alone each year,
    which could actually be given to humans instead to help combat world hunger, which could be
    eliminated with an estimated 40 million tons of food.
    Global vegetarianism could free up this land currently used by livestock, and even though
    a lot of it would not be suitable for habitation for humans, some of it could be used to cater
    to the growing global population, to grow more plants, and to lead way for other innovative
    ways to use the land.
    Health 56 billion animals are farmed and killed each
    year for human consumption with many being kept alive by a steady diet of drugs so they
    withstand the stressful and unsanitary farming conditions.
    At any time of year, there are approximately 20 billion chickens, 1.5 billion cows, 1 billion
    pigs, and 1 billion sheep in farms and factories around the world – that is three times the
    amount of humans and they are all there to feed us.
    According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the number of animals that require land for
    grazing is growing by 25 million each year.
    Factory farmed animals are full of diseases and can be a breeding ground for new strains
    of viruses and superbugs.
    By eliminating these factory farms, we could lower the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria
    and diseases such as Mad Cow Disease being released into our environment.
    Protein?
    Another point to consider would be that without meat to provide all-important protein in our
    diets, what would be our primary source?
    Fortunately, there are many alternatives.
    Soybeans are historically known as ‘meat without bones’ and contain 35% protein,
    meaning it is a quality protein source.
    There is a current perception that vegetarians drain the world’s plant sources but in fact
    most of the soybean crops and grains grown go to livestock.
    Other ways we could get a healthy dose of daily protein would be to eat more peas, nuts,
    beans, quinoa, greens and buckwheat.
    Dairy milk and chicken eggs are also an excellent source, provided that milk and egg farms would
    still be in operation.
    So, what do you think?
    Would the world benefit from a global vegetarian diet?
    Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
    Also, be sure to check out our other video called Vegans vs Meat Eaters!
    Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe.
    See you next time!
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