I’m working on a environmental science question and need support to help me learn.
Our diets have a significant impact on our carbon footprint. According to this NY Times infographic (Links to an external site.) (also posted as an optional website for the week), meat accounts for 13.5% of our greenhouse gas emissions. Energy is needed to produce the chemicals used to grow crops for the animals to eat, to process the animals, and to transport the animals. In addition, some animals like cows produce extra methane emissions through digestion (“cow burps”).
Worldwide, people who are malnourished tend to be protein deficient in addition to being calorie or vitamin deficient. Protein, especially in the form of animal meat, is economically and environmentally expensive to find, grow or raise. This means that protein is often in short supply, leaving many people without a constant source. Many people who are protein deficient are not getting enough food because of political and economic reasons: enough food is grown, but inequities in distribution and wealth prevent equal access.
Here in the United States, most of our protein comes from bird and mammal meat. Unfortunately, growing these meat sources takes huge amounts of land, water and fossil fuels. If everyone in the world ate as much mammal protein as Americans, the methane emissions would be enormous. There are alternatives (both for Americans and for the rest of the world).
In your homework assignment, I want you to research and discuss solutions to protein deficiency in the world. Keep in mind that the world population will most likely be 9-10 billion people in your lifetime, and that all of these people should be getting 40+grams of protein per day. What do you think needs to be done ensure that all of these people get enough protein?
Below, I have links to information about a few newer ideas. I’d like you to write TWO paragraphs evaluating the worldwide feasibility of ONE of these solutions. Include the social, economic and environmental aspects of the solution and discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks of the solution. If you have another solution in mind you’d like to write about, feel free to write about that instead.
- Plumpy Nut Paste: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/10/04/162224960/the-peanut-butter-cure-moves-from-hospital-to-snack-room (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
- Lab Grown Meat: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23576143 (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
- Eating more insects: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/13/should-we-eat-more-insects-the-u-n-thinks-so/ (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
- Vegetarian diet (no animal meat but often dairy/eggs are ok)
- Vegan Diet (no meat, fish, eggs or dairy, no animal products at all): https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49238749 (Links to an external site.)
- Other: Your Idea Here!
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