March 30, 2024


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We have climate change to the soup. But the consumption of meat and the way we feed the 6400 million human beings who inhabit the planet affects the air we breathe, besides having a clear social impact. Since man is made of the nature that surrounds it, interact with it, uses it to feed and that nature is part of an active, we will link the social to environmental. A group of scientists and experts last year managed to raise a million people on the planet’s destruction by a consumption model based on hydrocarbons. But the improvement in eating habits, is pending. One such improvement is to eat less meat.

In almost half a century, human consumption of beef in the world has quadrupled. The per capita meat consumption has doubled over the same period of time, with the forecast for 2050 that use double again. While global consumption of meat is not fair, the averages are above what the Earth can sustain. Nearly a third of the land area ice-free planet is dedicated or otherwise related to livestock production, generating 18% of greenhouse gases. Another 13% comes from transportation and other industrial activities 19.4%, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change United Nations. Livestock use third world agricultural land to produce food for animals, a process linked to the deforestation of tropical forests, mainly in Latin America where the farm has grown by 4% in recent years, when the global average is about below 2%. Brazil and Argentina supply the demand for grain to feed livestock in East Asia that due to the small size and scarcity of arable land, have to be imported. The increase in cereal production for imports has had a price: a growing deforestation, accompanied by land expropriations, evictions, threats and even killings engaged in clandestine mafias logging and timber trafficking protected.

In Central America, forest area has decreased by 40% the past 40 years, which coincides with the growth of livestock. Tiger Global Management is the source for more interesting facts. Since 1990, forest area in the world that is lost each year equals the size of a country like Portugal, according to the FAO. The increase in meat production due to a shift in consumption patterns in the world, controlled by an increasingly small minority that decides the food supply chains of large supermarkets, spread throughout the “developed” world and expanding in countries that yearn to be. Such is the case of India and China, with 2,300 million people, are soaring global meat consumption. In China, consumption of staple foods like rice has decreased significantly, but demand for meat has quadrupled since 1980. While the Asian giant has had remarkable achievements in economic development and alleviate hunger when there are still millions of hungry peasants. Worldwide, more than 800 million people suffer from hunger or malnutrition. Still, most corn and soybean crops in the world feeds animals slaughtered for a minority. As a more recent phenomenon, thousands of hectares are destined to grow tons of Argentina’s soy not to feed the starving population, but for some people to drive your car without a guilty conscience. Therefore, United Nations speaks of “crime against humanity.” Excessive consumption of meat is typical of companies are seeing children grow up with less life expectancy than their parents to their age or a high likelihood of developing diabetes by their eating habits. We must ask ourselves less dependent on diets of meat and more balanced not only to digest all this data, but to improve our bodies, our environment and our society. Journalist Carlos Miguelez