Winston Churchill understood Gaia better than most greens.Seventy years ago, Churchill made a prediction: “We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.” (h/t The Guardian) Via Meadia couldn’t agree more. Not only will fake meat cut down on the animal killing that so upsets PETA, it will also cut down on the carbon emissions associated with large-scale animal farming. While the environmental benefits have been clear for some time, a recent article in The Guardian makes clear just how serious they are:
Inspired by the “numbers, not adjectives” principle, we contributed to the assessment of the environmental impacts of cultured meat production and have published our findings in a peer-review journal. The results showed that cultured meat has 80-95% lower greenhouse gas emissions, 99% lower land use and 80-90% lower water use compared to conventionally produced meat in Europe.Every kilo of conventionally produced meat requires 4kg-10kg of feed, whereas cultured meat significantly increases efficiency by using only 2kg of feed. Based on our results, if cultured meat constituted half of all meat consumed we could halve the greenhouse emissions, and increase the forest cover by 50%, which is equivalent to four times of Brazil’s current forest area.The environmental benefits of cultured meat are even greater when the costs of land use are taken into account. Strategies for carbon sequestration could be used on the land freed from meat agriculture and would include growing new forests. There’d also be an increase in biodiversity as more land could be used for wildlife conservation.
Some readers, it is clear from the comment section, are appalled by the thought of ‘cultured meat’ as the Guardian so delicately puts it. Here at the stately Mead manor we have an open mind, possibly because an early exposure to British school food inured us to odd meat. With enough ketchup, Shamburgers™ will satisfy the most demanding palate, and Faux-Fowl™ will, we are sure, taste exactly like chicken.But the green movement needs to jump on this bandwagon fast. The chances that global carbon emissions will be reduced by the mass adoption of cultured meat are at least ten million times greater than the chances that those emissions will be capped by a grand global treaty.