Could We Save the World if We All Went Vegan?
At school, we learn that energy is frittered away at every stage in the food chain (sun > plants > animals > humans). If we eat food closer to the sun end of the chain, less energy is lost. “If you feed soyabeans to a cow, you get about a tenth of the nutrition back out again,” says Berners-Lee. Soyabeans, which contribute significantly to global deforestation, are rich in protein and can be eaten by people. Berners-Lee’s team has found recently that 40 per cent of energy from crops fit for human consumption went to farm animals. “You’d not far off double the food supply if you’d just stop doing that,” adds Berners-Lee. According to scientist Joseph Poore of Oxford University, worldwide conversion to veganism would shrink the amount of farmland needed by 3.1 billion hectares, the size of the African continent. That land could store carbon instead, in trees for example. Poore estimates worldwide veganism could also help cut greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter.