What I Learned This Week

The future of food—meeting soaring demand for animal protein amid growing resource constraints.

Few, if any, would dispute the fact that our current food system is not working well for the planet, humans or animals. And it is certainly not sustainable in the face of global population growth. As we have detailed in these pages periodically for over two decades, raising animals for human consumption requires vast amounts of land, water and feed. Consider what goes into a single quarter pound hamburger—six kilograms of feed, 1,700 liters of water, and six square meters of land. Meat production is not only resource intensive, it is a huge source of air and water pollution. Cattle ranching accounts for 80% of current tropical deforestation rates. Methane produced by livestock accounts for n…

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