There are over 7 billion people on the planet and producing food for all us is a huge task. By 2050 it is predicted there will a further 2 to 3 billion mouths to feed, meaning we will have to produce even more food.
In the UK we have food from around the world available to us and we have varied diet of exotic fruits and vegetables, but also a lot of meat. The world, generally, is getting richer and more and more people are wanting the same choice of foods we enjoy.
In China, between 2012 and 2017, the amount of beef eaten increased 10 % and is expected to grow a further 10-15 % by 2022. In 2006, China imported 6,000 tonnes of beef, yet in 2016 this had increased to 800,000 tonnes.
Beef production is hard on the environment – compared to chicken it produces 5 times the amount of greenhouse emissions, uses 28 times more land, and 11 times more water. Compared to potatoes, it uses 160 times more land!
Growing crops or raising livestock relies on a very thin layer of fertile soil. During rains and floods this soil can be washed away into rivers and eventually the sea. Every year, soil worth £1.2 billion is washed from UK farms.
The UK has lost 84 % of its fertile soil since 1850.
So what can we do?
Being vegan or vegetarian is brilliant way to help reduce your own environmental impact on the planet, but this isn’t a choice for everyone. However, just by reducing the amount of meat you eat, especially beef, can make a big difference. How about swapping that burger for a cheeky chicken and chips?
Protecting our soil is vital for us to continue growing enough food especially when more is needed. We will work with farmers to develop and adopt sustainable methods of agriculture which help to retain and improve soils.
Next level – Energy
Featured image under CC0 Public Domain License