There’s no question that our carnivorous eating habits have caused serious negative environmental effects; both enormous factory farms and the large amount of soybean and corn feed that livestock consume have led to an increase in pesticide use, which in turn has increased greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention, animal farming uses an abundance of natural water resources, an issue that’s especially pertinent in drought-ridden California. That’s where Bill Gates comes in. Today he asks on his personal blog, “Is There Enough Meat for Everyone?” and outlines some of the serious detriments of our seemingly insatiable meat preferences.
“The richer the world gets, the more meat it eats; the more meat it eats, the bigger the threat to the planet,” Gates writes. “How do we square this circle?”
He quotes Vaclav Smil, a Czech-Canadian environmental scientist, who reminds us that “every year, the average meat-eating American ingests more than enough blood to fill a soda can.” Gross. He also laments that, “it takes several thousand liters of water to produce one kilogram of boneless beef.” But don’t worry, everyone’s favorite philanthropic billionaire isn’t swearing off meat completely — or guilt-tripping us into doing the same. Instead, he applauds innovative green-friendly crop innovation, as well as meat substitutes like Beyond Meat’s deceptive “Beast Burger.”
“With a little moderation and more innovation, I do believe the world can meet its need for meat,” Gates concludes.