Environmental Sustainability News (09/27/2019)

Environmental Sustainability News (09/27/2019)

Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers a year, which translates to three burgers a week for every single person in the United States.  You may have noticed plant-based ground burger “meat” substitutes in the last couple of years available in grocery stores and at almost 9,000 restaurants nationwide.   Sales increased 22 percent to $1.5 billion last year (2018).  

Wait, are these “veggie burgers” we have enjoyed for years (cue visions of the black bean and quinoa patty)?  Well not exactly in fact the technical name is meatless cell-based burgers.  Ah well that is…. different.    From a sustainability standpoint, though, these new product offerings could reduce the world’s dependence on livestock would have some beneficial effects. Consider:

  • It takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of grain-fed beef.
  • We use eight times more land to feed animals in the U.S. than we use to feed humans.
  • Humans slaughter 66 billion chickens, 1.5 billion pigs, half a billion sheep, half a billion goats, and 300 million cows each year.
  • Eating fewer animals would also help reduce deforestation and environmental degradation
  • Cows and other livestock account for roughly one-sixth of all greenhouse-gas emissions
  • It takes four to seven pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat
  • According to one analysis, it takes just over one pound of grain to produce one pound of “novel vegan meats.”
  • Advances in medicine, sanitation, and food production have meant population growth so there are more and more people to feed
    • 1900 - there were 1.65 billion people
    • 2000 - there were more than 6 billion
    • 2020 – projected to be 7.7 billion

 

Further Reading:

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/07/world-population-stop-growing/595165/

 

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/the-hidden-costs-of-hamburgers

 

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/burger-facts-trivia_n_3654636?fb_comment_id=418193618285839_761846343920563

 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/other/what-s-different-about-the-impossible-burger/ar-AAHIn6G

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/09/technology/meat-veggie-burgers-lab-produced.html