The world may be required to go vegetarian by 2050
-World may be forced to go vegetarian by 2050, scientists say
It simply takes too much water to grow a steak. In a new report, leading water scientists say the human population would have to switch to an almost entirely vegetarian diet by 2050 to avoid catastrophic global food and water shortages.
"There will not be enough water available … to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends," Malin Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute stated in the report. By their estimation, there should be just enough water to go around if humans derive just 5 percent of their calories from animal-based foods by midcentury, instead of the 20 percent of calories that they currently get from meat, eggs and dairy.
It's a simple numbers game: Cattle, for example, consume a shocking 17 times more grain calories than they produce as meat calories. All that lost grain (which humans could have eaten) requires water. "Producing food requires more water than any other human activity — and meat production is very water-intensive," Josh Weinberg, the institute's communications officer, told Life's Little Mysteries.
The fixed amount of water on Earth indicates people must reduce their meat consumption to avoid shortages. But with so many meat lovers around, will people actually do it?
They'll be forced to eat less meat, experts say. But not by government intervention or their own inner moral compasses. For most people, the choice between a juicy, medium-rare sirloin steak and a humble plateful of soybeans won't turn on which one is sucking wells dry in Texas. It will hinge on the contents of their wallets.
In fact, meat eating is already on the decline in the United States. It reached its peak in 2007. According to Janet Larsen, director of research at the nonprofit Earth Policy Institute, Americans collectively consumed 55 billion pounds (25 billion kilograms) of meat that year. This year, consumption will total about 52 billion pounds (22 billion kg). Beef eating has dropped off the most.
One driver, Larsen said, is health; another is environmental concerns, because meat production contributes greatly to greenhouse gas emissions and thus global warming. But the primary reason meat-eating has fallen is the rising price of meat, especially beef, Larsen said. And that reflects the increasing price of the corn used to feed livestock.
Incomes aren't rising nearly as fast as corn prices, and people end up filling their carts with less meat," Larsen told Life's Little Mysteries. She thinks the trend will continue. "We might go back to when Sunday night dinner was [the only time] when you had a chicken on the table."
In the past two years, corn prices have been driven up in the United States by droughts across the Southern Plains — a palpable demonstration that water is the ultimate deciding factor in the availability of meat. A fixed amount of water paired with a growing world population means something has to give (or if not give, at least become a luxury). And that something is meat eating.
"When you look at the absolute numbers of people on the planet and the amount of food that we're producing, you ask the age-old question: How many people can Earth support? We look at the question from the perspective of food-intake levels," Larsen said.
"People in India eat very little meat, so they consume about 200 kilograms [441 pounds] of grain per person each year. At that level of consumption, our total grain harvest could support 10 billion people on the planet. In the U.S., people are eating closer to 800 kilograms [1,768 pounds] of grain, and that's because much of our grain is being consumed indirectly through livestock. At that level, we could only support a world population of closer to 6 billion or less."
Humans stand at 7 billion strong partly because most people consume a fraction of the grain that Americans do. As the population presses upward, placing ever greater demand on the grain supply, fewer people will be able to afford the large quantity of grain that goes into each pound of meat. Wealthy populations will import grain to support their meat-eating, but at great cost.
Beef will probably end up as the priciest meat of all, Larsen said. In fact, although people in China, India and other rapidly modernizing countries are eating more meat, beef production is already leveling off globally, according to Larsen. "I don't think that the world will be able to produce much more beef," she said. Cows just eat too much.
"Not all animal-based foods are created equal," said Gidon Eshel, a statistician at Bard College in upstate New York who studies the energy cost of various agricultural practices. "Certainly beef is a huge contributor to unchecked water consumption that is hard to imagine continuing."
Eshel's research shows that beef has a "conversion efficiency" of just 6 percent: "So if you give a cow 100 calories of feed, it will produce 6 edible beef calories," he said. Chicken and turkey are four times more efficient, and pork falls in between poultry and beef. [How Much Water Is Used to Grow a Hamburger?]
The low conversion efficiency of the cow is partly due to its digestion, which starts in the rumen. "A ruminant supports itself as well as a couple trillion protozoa and fungi and unicellular organisms that also make a living in its rumen," Eshel said. "We humans also have a ridiculous amount of bacteria, but it is unique that for [cows and other ruminants] the bulk of those hitchhikers are involved in digestion — they mostly live in that oxygen-free chamber called the rumen." In this symbiotic relationship, the bacteria break down cell walls in plant matter and extract the useful material, some of which gets offered up to the host cow, and some of which they use for their own metabolism, Eshel said. "Without them, cows would be no more competent at digesting ruffage than we are."
Considering how much grain cows require to satisfy both themselves and their hangers-on, Eshel thinks beef is still pretty cheap. (In the United States, it's cheap enough to contribute to the obesity epidemic, he noted.) This is bound to change, whether the passionate meat lovers of the world like it or not. "I assume the ranks of 'passionate meat eaters' will thin dramatically," he said, "once it is expensive."
70% of earth's surface is covered with water. if we put the resources into desalinaztion of seawater then all water shortage concerns would be no more. water drops out the fucking sky. we have ice thats miles thick. wtf?!?
but providing clean water to those who need it is not in the best interest of the powers that be.
plus cows diets are supposed to consist of 80% grass ans 20% feed. right now we consume beef that has been raised on 80% feed (corn) diets.
on top of that we eat waaaay too much meat.
^^ and the cows raised on corn feed are raised on GM corn (terminator gm seeds)
i feel the original article doesn't consider, that the price of feed has grown x4 in the last 2 years... due to!!!! the stupid ass govt of the us, telling farmers,, hey we will by your subsidized corn and use it as fuel ( ETHANOL ) which as quadrupled teh price of CORN FEED ,,,, so instead of the gm frankenseeds affecting the next generation, the next generation will starve,,
while govt rockets / cars / jets be running off energy produced by food..
lol at calling this a sustainable resource, when people will starve due to food prices being amplified cos of the lucrative market this is..
what a fucking backwards society we live in,
Shocking findings in new GMO study: Rats fed lifetime of GM corn grow horrifying tumors, 70% of females die early
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto's Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. That's the conclusion of a shocking new study that looked at the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto's genetically modified corn.
The study has been deemed "the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats." News of the horrifying findings is spreading like wildfire across the internet, with even the mainstream media seemingly in shock over the photos of rats with multiple grotesque tumors... tumors so large the rats even had difficulty breathing in some cases. GMOs may be the new thalidomide.
"Monsanto Roundup weedkiller and GM maize implicated in 'shocking' new cancer study" wrote The Grocery, a popular UK publication. (http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/topics/te...-chain/monsant...)
It reported, "Scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females."
The Daily Mail reported, "Fresh row over GM foods as French study claims rats fed the controversial crops suffered tumors." (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2205509/Fresh-fears-GM...)
It goes on to say: "The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group."
The study, led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, was the first ever study to examine the long-term (lifetime) effects of eating GMOs. You may find yourself thinking it is absolutely astonishing that no such studies were ever conducted before GM corn was approved for widespread use by the USDA and FDA, but such is the power of corporate lobbying and corporate greed.
The study was published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal and was just presented at a news conference in London.
Findings from the study
Here are some of the shocking findings from the study:
• Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.
• Rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors.
• Rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage including liver damage and kidney damage.
• The study fed these rats NK603, the Monsanto variety of GM corn that's grown across North America and widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that's in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.
The Daily Mail is reporting on some of the reaction to the findings:
France's Jose Bove, vice-chairman of the European Parliament's commission for agriculture and known as a fierce opponent of GM, called for an immediate suspension of all EU cultivation and import authorisations of GM crops. 'This study finally shows we are right and that it is urgent to quickly review all GMO evaluation processes,' he said in a statement. 'National and European food security agencies must carry out new studies financed by public funding to guarantee healthy food for European consumers.' (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2205509/Fresh-fears-GM...)
Read the study abstract
The study is entitled, "A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health." Read the abstract here:
That abstract include this text. Note: "hepatorenal toxicity" means toxic to the liver.
Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.
Here are some quotes from the researchers:
"This research shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and more aggressively - particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts." - Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist, King's College London.
"We can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health." - Dr Antoniou.
"This is the first time that a long-term animal feeding trial has examined the impact of feeding GM corn or the herbicide Roundup, or a combination of both and the results are extremely serious. In the male rats, there was liver and kidney disorders, including tumors and even more worryingly, in the female rats, there were mammary tumors at a level which is extremely concerning; up to 80 percent of the female rats had mammary tumors by the end of the trial." - Patrick Holden, Director, Sustainable Food Trust.
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Horrific Results of New GMO Food Study Reveal Obama Has Abandoned FDA Regulation to Chemical Industry Profits, Says Occupy Monsanto
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Increases in Tumors & Disease in Rats Fed GMO Food Discovered in First Long Term Peer Reviewed Study
Occupy Monsanto, a decentralized network of food activists who organized 65 protests at GMO manufacturer Monsanto facilities across the globe this week, is calling on the Barack Obama Administration to clean house of appointed former Monsanto executives who intentionally ignore the serious health impacts of eating genetically engineered food due to their conflict of interest. A new GMO food study released today gives alarming evidence of GMO-induced lethal health complications in rats. The data casts an ominous shadow on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where imperative consumer regulation of GMOs is handled by former Monsanto executives. Read the new European GMO study at http://research.sustainablefoodtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Final-Paper.pdf .
"Activists are renewing their push for the FDA to review the long term safety of GMO food prior to its introduction to the food supply," says Occupy Monsanto spokesperson Gene Etic. "European researchers confirmed today rats fed GMO food developed tumors and other serious health problems at an alarming rate compared to the control group. It isn't too soon to pull GMOs out of the food supply based on today's news. The FDA has an obligation to protect people from unhealthy food but as long as former Monsanto executive Michael Taylor is running food safety for Obama nothing will be done to protect Americans."
Absent a new approach by the Obama Administration, the new study will fuel more GMO protests that are increasingly becoming disruptive as demonstrated last Wednesday, September 12 ,when activists calling themselves the Genetic Crimes Unit (GCU) shut down shipping and receiving access points at Monsanto's massive Oxnard, California GMO seed factory. By peacefully blockading the exit and access points at the factory, the group shut down the distribution of genetically engineered (GMO) seeds for a day.
"If the government refuses to stop the distribution of deadly GMO seeds in the food supply, more and more activists will engage in acts like last week that stopped GMO seed distribution for about 6 hours in the state of California," says Ariel Vegosen who was arrested with 8 others in Oxnard and charged with trespassing.
Monsanto is the largest producer of GMO seeds. Actions officially started on September 17, a year since Occupy Wall Street movement began and took place throughout the world including the 45 protests in the U.S. alone and many others in Germany, Canada, India, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Argentina, Australia, Spain, Russia, Peru and Japan. More info as well as video available for media use with credit of the GMO protests can be found at http://Occupy-Monsanto.com/