The Plant-Based Workplace   by Gigi Carter


Would you like fries with that?

It may be hard for some to imagine, but many people around the world eat insects as their primary source of “animal” protein. With the increasing number and intensity of hurricanes from warming temperatures and growing algal blooms due to nutrient runoff from factory farms, coupled with a growing population expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, the food system we have today is not sustainable, and insects are a sustainable source of food. In fact, the United Nations released a report in 2013 urging people to eat insects.

But insects are one option, while plants are another…

An in-depth study published June 2018 in the journal Science provided another source for those recommending a plant-based dietary pattern with more evidence that it can be a solution to warming temperatures, acidification and eutrophication problems we continue to see globally. Critics may call this confirmation bias, but critics are also not providing credible evidence to dispute this.

The researchers in this study, Poore, and Nemecek, consolidated data from 38,700 farms in 119 countries and stated that “…meat, aquaculture (fish), eggs, and dairy use ~83% of the world’s farmland and contribute… 18% of our calories.” These animal foods are significantly resource-intensive and provide little yield in the way of nutrition for a growing population. Poore and Nemecek went on to say, “We find that the impacts of the lowest-impact animal products exceed average impacts of substitute vegetable proteins across greenhouse gas emissions, eutrophication, acidification, and frequently land use.”

Based on the researchers’ analysis, due to the high rate of meat consumption in the United States (which is three times the global average), changing to a plant-based diet could reduce greenhouse gas emission by two-thirds.

I wonder if the plant protein against animal protein debate will shift from “beans versus grass-fed beef” to “beans versus grasshoppers.” Regardless, beef as it is currently farmed for most people today will need to change if this planet is to survive for future generations.

Other Resources

TEEB for Agriculture & Food

National Geographic “U.N. Urges Eating Insects; 8 Popular Bugs to Try”