What would happen in the world if suddenly there was no meat on our plates? Here is the effect it would cause to the climate, environment, our health, culture, economy and more.
If we all replace our regular diet with vegetarian, by 2050 there would be about seven million fewer deaths every year – and that benefit has potential to reach eight million deaths less on global level.
According to Marco Springmann, a research at the Oxford Martin School’s Future of Food programme, emissions due to food production would drop for almost 60%. This effect would occur by getting rid of red meat – which comes from methane-producing livestock – from everyday people’s meals.
Pastures would be turned into native habitats and forests by what the effect of climate changes would be alleviated and the lost biodiversity, including larger herbivores, all of which were previously pushed, such as buffalo, and predators like wolves would be brought back.
All the people that are currently employed in the livestock industry would need to start a new alternative but still associated career with what they were doing before, like in agriculture, reforestation or producing bioenergy. Not providing alternative careers could cause mass unemployment, mainly in traditionally rural communities.
Extermination of domestic animals like sheep or cows could make a negative impact on biodiversity, as their impact on the nature for centuries, primarily by grazing, has helped in shaping the land– so it could happen that some farmers would be paid to keep these animals for environmental purposes.
There will no more turkey on the menu for Christmas. Deciding on not consuming meat would also lead to losing many traditions. Many cultures around the world offer gifts of livestock at different celebrations. According to Ben Phalan at the University of Cambridge, this is the reason as he said, “why efforts to reduce meat consumption have often faltered”.
Not consuming meat would have positive health effects. It would lower the chances of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancers. That all would save 2-3% of global gross domestic product in paying for medicines and medical treatments.
It would be needed a proper replacement for the meat with other nutritional substitutes. Here, when deciding on the substitutes, should be taken into consideration that animal products contain much more nutrients per calorie compared to staples like grains and rice.