Meat consumption must drop by 90% to avert a climate crisis

October 16, 2018 by  
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While the meat industry’s negative impacts on the environment have proved troublesome for some time, an assembly of scientists from various European research institutes have released a thorough analysis of the Earth’s food system that shows if farming practices and food trends continue unchecked, the planet’s capabilities of feeding the global population will be decimated within the coming decades, and global warming will not be able to stay under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Greenhouse gas emissions, land and water consumption, deforestation , biodiversity loss and aquatic dead zones are the central burdens of agriculture evaluated by experts. However, this year’s research study determined a new problem — food supply — to be the most concerning of all. With a booming population that is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, the environmental damages are enough that widespread food insecurity is knocking on our door. Related: Look out, meat industry – flexitarianism is on the rise “It is pretty shocking,” said Marco Springmann, lead researcher from the University of Oxford. “We are really risking the sustainability of the whole system.” The team examined precise data from every country to assemble the most comprehensive assessment of food production and global environment to date. Their diagnosis? Surviving within environmental limits requires a drastic reduction in meat consumption. “Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,” explained Professor Johan Rockström from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today.” While the problem requires multi-dimensional confrontation from technological , governmental and social standpoints, the experts are encouraging dietary changes on an individual level. The study recommends an astounding 90 percent reduction in meat consumption and a 60 percent cut in milk consumption for people in countries such as the U.S. and U.K., as well as the adoption of more sustainable farming practices, in order to keep temperature rise under control. “There is no magic bullet, but dietary and technological [farming] change are the two essential things, and hopefully they can be complemented by reduction in food loss and waste,” Springmann said. Calling it the “flexitarian” diet, the researchers recommended a surge in bean , pulse, nut and seed consumption to replace the standard meat intake. Taking the average world citizen, the diet stresses a 75 percent cut in beef, a 90 percent cut in pork and a 50 percent cut in egg consumption to halve livestock emissions and help the planet return to sustainable levels. “Ultimately, we live on a finite planet, with finite resources,” said University of Leeds professor Tim Benton on the study, in which he did not take part. “It is a fiction to imagine there is a technological solution allowing us to produce as much food as we might ever want, allowing us to overeat and throw food away.” + Nature Via The Guardian Images via Andrik Langfield and Deryn Macey

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Meat consumption must drop by 90% to avert a climate crisis

Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat

June 1, 2018 by  
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Want to lower your environmental impact? Go vegan . That’s one idea researchers uncovered in what The Guardian described as the most comprehensive analysis thus far of farming’s impact on Earth. University of Oxford scientist Joseph Poore, who led the study, told The Guardian, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases , but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car .” “Animal product-free diets…deliver greater environmental benefits than purchasing sustainable meat or dairy ,” according to Oxford’s statement on the study published today in the journal Science . Scientist Thomas Nemecek of Swiss agricultural research group Agroscope joined Poore to create a database of close to 40,000 farms in 119 countries to assess environmental impacts of 40 major foods representing 90 percent of what we eat. Related: Here’s what could happen if America went 100% vegan They discovered that meat and dairy generate 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and use up 83 percent of farmland — but offer just 37 percent of protein and 18 percent of calories, The Guardian reported. Without dairy and meat consumption, global farmland use could be slashed by over 75 percent. The scientists also uncovered variability in producing the same food: for example, high-impact beef producers raising beef cattle on deforested land use 50 times more land and create 12 times more greenhouse gases than low-impact beef producers raising cows on natural pastures. But there’s still a sharp comparison between beef and plant protein like peas: even low-impact beef generates six times more greenhouse gases and uses 36 times more land. You might think grass-fed beef has a low environmental impact, but the researchers discovered the product’s impact was still higher than that of plant-based foods. Poore told The Guardian, “Converting grass into [meat] is like converting coal to energy. It comes with an immense cost in emissions.” Many food experts praised the study. The University of Edinburgh’s Peter Alexander told the Guardian he was impressed but said, “There may be environmental benefits, e.g. for biodiversity, from sustainably managed grazing and increasing animal product consumption may improve nutrition for some of the poorest globally. My personal opinion is we should interpret these results not as the need to become vegan overnight, but rather to moderate our [meat] consumption.” + University of Oxford + Science Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos

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Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat

Missouri approves legislation to ban labeling plant-based ‘meat’ as meat

May 22, 2018 by  
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Plant-based meat substitutes or meat grown in a laboratory — think the Impossible Burger or the Beyond Burger — won’t be able to be marketed as meat under new legislation recently approved by  Missouri  lawmakers in a 125 to 22 vote. Representative Jeff Knight, a Republican who backed the change, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , “We’re not trying to mislead anyone. We’re just trying to protect our product.” Legislation outlawing companies from calling lab-grown or plant-based meat substitutes ‘meat’ is headed to the governor’s desk in Missouri. Senate Bill 627 is a package of changes to conservation and agriculture laws, including a provision stating, “This act also prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” If the bill becomes law, Missouri will be the first state in America to address this issue. Related: TGI Fridays to sell Beyond Meat’s plant-based burger in hundreds of stores Mike Deering, the executive vice president of the  Missouri Cattlemen’s Association said in a statement , “This isn’t a Missouri issue. This is about protecting the integrity of the products that farm and ranch families throughout the country work hard to raise each and every day. I never imagined we would be fighting over what is and isn’t meat. It seems silly. However, this is very real and I cannot stress enough the importance of this issue…This legislation does not stifle technology , but it does ensure the integrity of our meat supply and reduces customer confusion.” Representative Deb Lavender, a Democrat, said we should be embracing the future, and that many people “are eating differently than they used to.” Representative Tracy McCreery, also a Democrat, said she found the bill somewhat disrespectful to consumers, saying, “You guys are just trying to protect your marketing money.” The bill did find bipartisan support. Democratic representative Greg Razer agreed with the policy and said, “I love me a pork chop.” Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and EcoWatch Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Missouri approves legislation to ban labeling plant-based ‘meat’ as meat

White Castle is now offering ‘bleeding’ vegan Impossible Burger sliders

April 17, 2018 by  
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Iconic fast-food chain White Castle is now offering a vegan version of its signature sliders, with the “beef” provided by Redwood City-based start-up Impossible Foods . It’s the first time that a major chain has offered the meatless burger alternative and marks a shift in what consumers are demanding these days. The Impossible slider re-creates the sensation of eating meat, complete with “blood,” in hopes to bridge the gap between the dry veggie burgers of yore and real meat. While the Impossible Burger is offered at 1,300 different restaurants in the United States, including Fat Burger, Umami Burger, and Momofuko Nishi, its featured debut at White Castle, the largest chain to partner with Impossible Foods, is a landmark for the companies involved. Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown hopes that the White Castle partnership will help the burgeoning vegan “meat” company better understand how to “popularize plant-based meat with mainstream burger lovers.” Founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas, White Castle is credited as the first fast-food chain as well as the inventor of the slider. It also has been owned and operated by the Ingram family for four generations. White Castle CEO Lisa Ingram cites the strong relationship that the company has with its customers as a primary reason to explore a vegan burger option.  “It really starts by listening to our customers as we try to do with all of our innovations,” Ingram told Marketplace . “We also have some customers that grew up on White Castle but have decided to be vegetarians… This was a natural evolution for us when we found out that Impossible Foods was creating a plant-based product that looked and tastes like beef both for the people that like meats and for the people that are choosing to have a vegetarian diet.” Related: NYC’s first vegan butcher shop set to open this spring Founded in 2011, Impossible Foods opened its first high-volume production facility in Oakland , California in the fall of 2017. Despite this facility’s taking up a full city-block, the demand for Impossible Foods “meat” has become so high that the company is looking double its production in the near future. The Impossible Burger slider at White Castle costs $1.99, in contrast to the $.77 per beef slider, and is available in select stores in New York, New Jersey and the Chicago area. If this trial run proves to be a success, consumers may soon be able to enjoy the Impossible slider at White Castles across the United States . Via Grub Street and Marketplace Images via Impossible Foods and White Castle

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White Castle is now offering ‘bleeding’ vegan Impossible Burger sliders

Mushroom-beef burgers from Sodexo, Sonic are cutting calories and emissions

February 27, 2018 by  
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Replacing just 30 percent of the meat in these blended recipes could help cut up to 10.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

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Mushroom-beef burgers from Sodexo, Sonic are cutting calories and emissions

The ‘tragedy’ of the EIA’s latest annual outlook

February 27, 2018 by  
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The agency should look to real, current market dynamics to inform its positions, not outdated historical forecasts.

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The ‘tragedy’ of the EIA’s latest annual outlook

TGI Fridays to sell Beyond Meat’s plant-based burger in hundreds of stores

November 28, 2017 by  
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When you’re hunting for tasty vegan eats, TGI Friday’s probably doesn’t top your list. But the American restaurant chain will start offering Beyond Meat’s plant-based, vegan Beyond Burger in over 465 stores starting in January. The Beyond Burger – which launched in May of last year – has become Beyond Meat’s most successful product, and it’s currently available in over 5,000 supermarket meat cases next to ground beef. Beyond Meat announced the soft launch of their Beyond Burger in an eight-week trial at six TGI Friday’s outlets in the Boston area back. Now their meatless alternative will roll out in over 465 stores as part of their revamped Burger Bar. TGI Friday’s is the biggest restaurant brand to partner with the plant-based meat company, which also offers a precooked frozen pea protein burger patty, meatless chicken strips, and a ground beef alternative called Beyond Beef Crumble. Related: Impossible Foods cruelty-free burger added to more West Coast restaurant menus While reviewers have raved about the meat-like quality of Beyond Meat’s products, it’s their recently-launched Beyond Burger that’s really shined. People can purchase the burger in over 5,000 grocery stores in America at chains like Safeway, Kroger, Hy-Vee, Wegmans, and Raley’s. The burger boasts 20 grams of plant-based protein, largely from peas, and the company says it looks, cooks, and tastes like real meat, so it’s sold in the meat section of supermarkets. The company aims to offer meat alternatives that will appeal to a wide audience; Fast Company quoted CEO Ethan Brown as saying, “Our products are so good there’s no reason to consider it a sacrifice.” The company’s goal, per their website , is to change the meat case to the protein case by providing food that attracts even burger-loving carnivores. + Beyond Meat Via Fast Company and Beyond Meat Images via Beyond Meat Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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TGI Fridays to sell Beyond Meat’s plant-based burger in hundreds of stores

Getting behind the debate over lab-grown meat

October 17, 2017 by  
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The dialogue over human health, equity and the sustainable future of our food system is just beginning.

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Getting behind the debate over lab-grown meat

Grass-fed beef may be even worse for the climate

October 10, 2017 by  
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Prepare to be cowed by the data.

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Grass-fed beef may be even worse for the climate

Is blockchain the singularity point for the environment?

October 10, 2017 by  
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Applying blockchain to carbon credits to create a “carbon currency” is the key to demystifying and consolidating the carbon market so it can scale up.

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Is blockchain the singularity point for the environment?

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