How Sheep, Cows, and Goats Kill Tens of Thousands of Species

Book cover from “The Death of Grass” by John Christopher (Wikimedia Commons / GrahamHardy)

Once we lose a species, we lose it forever.

Every day that goes by, we lose 12 species at the very least (Source). Image by makeagif.com / robbo83

Why does losing species matter?

Biodiversity Helps us Earn Money 💰

Half of the world’s GDP ($44T USD) is highly or moderately dependent on nature’s services. (pg. 103)

The dense roots of mangroves block storm waves. (Source) Image by Wikimedia Commons / Pernal8

Biodiversity Maintains OUR Habitat (Not Just Other Animals’)

Without biodiversity keeping the environment livable, humans would die (period). 💀

These shiny diatoms are not an illustration. This is a real microscope image. (California Academy of Sciences)

The More Species, the More Innovation

This is Penicillium glandicola. It makes Roquefortine C, a bacteria-fighting toxin. (Wikimedia Commons / Raeky)
These spikes on the telescope are designed to mimic those on a moth’s eye. (Source)

What threatens biodiversity the most?

But habitat loss is the biggest threat to 85% of threatened and endangered species. 😱

Disclaimer: This is an average across 5 global regions. But the top 2 issues are the same everywhere. (pg. 21)

So what causes habitat loss?

(pg. 8)

So why do cows, sheep, and goats need so much land?? 😕

Meat Consumption Kickstarts Biodiversity Loss

Biodiversity hotspots are areas with >1500 unique plant species that have lost >70% of their population. (Source) (Image by Wikimedia Commons / ninjatacoshell)

RECAP: Growing demand for products made from cows, sheep, and goats → increased grazing lands → habitat loss → Biodiversity loss 😵

Reducing meat/dairy demand is the PREREQUISITE to fixing biodiversity loss

Current solutions to reduce animal products?

The three R’s of reducing animal product s— replace, remove, reduce.

We can REPLACE Animal Products with Substitutes

Beyond Meat is the largest plant-based meat company (Open Food Facts / kiliweb)
I’ll talk about the exception (energy use) after. (Kaplan, Rubio, and Xiang, 2020)

We Can REMOVE Animal Products from Diets

Data Source: pg. 10

We Can REDUCE Animal Product Purchases

Plant-based meats next to regular meats in a Kroger store (Plant Based Foods Association)

Why aren’t these solutions enough?

#1 CURRENTLY, Alternatives Cost Too Much 💸😢

Animal product alternatives grown from cells in the lab can cost tens of thousands of dollars per pound!

In fact, more consumers stop buying plant-based meats after price increases than for regular meats (Source)

#2 CURRENTLY, Most Alternatives are Unheard Of

Scientists have researched, but not used solutions. And companies/nonprofits have used, but not researched solutions.

(Giphy.com / boomunderground)

#3 As You May Have Noticed, Humans Don’t Like Change 😕

Disclaimers: this is a survey from Canadians, not Americans (unlike above). 410 respondents could choose multiple answers. And stated answers may not show true intention. (Source)

#4 The Right Solutions in the Wrong Places?

No matter which level of this problem you look at, we’re focusing too much on developed countries.

(Source)
Just a few countries dominate meat production in 2019. (Source)
(Kaplan, Rubio, and Xiang, 2020)

In 2019, almost all meat alternative startups were in the US or Europe.

Which new solutions would be better?

Key Takeaways 🔑

Thank You to the Experts Who Supported This 🙏

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