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Food industry: The single biggest cause of climate change

by Dr Prem Community Writer
Food industry The single biggest cause of climate change

You all are well aware of the sorry state of the environment today. Every possible way of degrading the environment has been adopted by the humans and the situation today is grim to say the least. While we know of several causes like burning of fossil fuel and automobiles and factories to be the cause of climate change, many of us are not aware of the biggest cause of them all. However, many recent researches point out to the fact that the food industry could be the biggest cause of climate change.

 The impact of the meat we have

beef There goes a saying that if all the cattle were put together as a nation, it would happen to be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. This is indeed alarming as statistics and meat consumptions and meat industries all over the world must be immediately asked to seek eco friendly alternatives. As per reports only 1kg of beef to be produced, produces an amount of 22kg of CO2 equivalents. This is still the statistics of meat production in New Zealand which adopts some of the best measures in the world to produce their food. The byproduct of the digestive process of animals such as cows produces a lot of methane and it causes significant damage to the balance of the ecosystem. Even if we consider dairy products, it is worthwhile to note that it fairs no better in the lists.

The impact of dairy products on the environment

impact of dairy products on the environment

To give you a fair idea of the food related emission, let us tell you about the pollution caused and the environmental change brought about by milk production in New Zealand. The rest of the world fairs much worse in this list so from the score of New Zealand you would have a fair idea of how bad the scenario is. For every 1kilogram of milk produced a .89kg CO2 is released into the atmosphere. If such is the statistics for the finest producer of milk, you can imagine the status worldwide when it comes to the food industry being the biggest cause of climate change. 

Options that are eco friendly

lady eating meat

A trend has been initiated to check carbon emissions from agriculture and that is the initiation of fake meat. These are still the starting days for such plant based artificial meat which tastes exactly like its natural variant. So while the texture and taste of real beef is retained, it is actually being made from plant protein. Even milk can be made from fermented yeast such that the taste and flavor of original milk can be recreated. The prices too are nowhere in the affordable range as a mere US hamburger if made artificially in a lab costs around $330000 which is not at all feasible.

Since the biggest cause of climate change is the food industry and a large part of it is due to the meat industries, a lot of premiere corporate giants like Microsoft have come forward and invested heavily for further research on this topic. Thus soon you may actually come across products like pig free bacon or a beef free hamburger which tastes exactly like beef. If this can ever be made into a viable option, it would save a lot on emissions that wreck havoc in our lives and the generations to come.

How agriculture is among the biggest cause of climate change

agriculture Agriculture is not far behind meat production when it comes to environmental damage. Years of abuse on the land and eco systems, deforestation and clearing of large parts of the forest have resulted in a dreadful situation. The food industry and agriculture alone causes more pollution than all the cars, aero planes and ships combined.

Almost one fourth of all emissions are from agricultural sources and it is indeed alarming statistics. There are many agricultural practices that are cancer to the environment. If we want to avoid the footprint of different meals leading to pollution, we must take a stance against such practices. Slash and burn agriculture for instance is practiced in large parts of the world. The impact is massive air pollution and smog in the nearby cities.

Apart from these cattle grazing does a significant damage to the environmental conditions. It averts the risk of a Dust bowl like situation where the amount of dust particles in air is significantly increased wrecking the structure of the earth as we know it. It can be simply made possible by the unchecked grazing activities which clear the grass thus making soil loose and brittle. In the next section we will look at some options to negate the biggest cause of climate change. 

How to have a better world

How to have a better world

When it comes to agriculture there are some options that can be tried out. In fact the World Wildlife Fund has a two pronged strategy. First they want to achieve a conversion free food production process by the year 2030.

Secondly, they want to bring down the GHG emission through animal protein by 20% worldwide and 50% in the US alone. However it would be an easy task by no means. The huge environmental degradation and habitat loss resulting from it must be taken out of the equation as the first measure. The priority right now has to be restoration and conservation and only through the combined efforts can there be a decent chance to save the ailing planet.

Final words

You seldom realize while eating that there is a definite footprint of different meals and all that we consume come at the heavy price of shattering the environmental balance. Carbon emissions from agriculture are a real threat and you as responsible citizens of the world must learn all about it which we hope you did from this article. Now is the time to change how it used to be and build a better world that is sustainable for the future generations to come.