“Eating Meat is NOT bad for the Environment”, or so people think

Enough have been said about the inefficient and unsustainable farming practices of meat production.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that livestock accounts for about 14.5 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions estimated as 100-year CO2 equivalents.

Irrigation water applied in production of livestock feed and forage has been estimated to account for about 9 percent of withdrawn freshwater use in the United States. (Environmental Impact of Meat Production, Wikipedia)

When it comes to people’s perception, however, that’s not necessarily the case.

According to a joint research project by National Geographic and GlobeScan, many consumers do not think that eating meat is bad for the environment.

How people think of the environmental impact of meat consumption

In a scale of one to five, one being “Strongly disagree” and five being “Strongly agree”, consumers from 18 countries were asked how strongly they agree or disagree with the stament “Eating meat is bad for the environment”.

43 percent of the respondents said they either disagree or strongly disagree with the statement, showing the discrepancy between scientific evidence and people’s perception of the environmental impact of meat production/consumption.

One positive change since the same survey conducted in 2012 is that consumers in some European and Asian countries have shown greater concern over the environmental impact of eating meat.

Change in consumer perception

The increase in the percentage of consumers who agree or strongly agree that eating meat is bad for the environment in India, in particular, shows that environmental awareness is no longer a luxury enjoyed only by the developed nations; in fact, environmental degradation are said to hit developing countries harder than it does to developed countries in terms of food and water security.

Shojin Meat (in-vitro or lab-grown meat)and other alternative meat products alone will not solve all the food security or agreculture-related environmental issues. It is the continuous consumer education and improved understanding that will propel the effort to build a better, more sustainbale relation between human diet and the environment.