Concerns about food security are growing by the day. With the world's population predicted to rise from 7 billion to 9-11 billion by 2050, one of the most pressing concerns we must address is how we will treat and alleviate hunger in the twenty-first century as a species.
But what role does a plant-based diet have in food security? How may a plant-based diet help to alleviate hunger? Allow us to answer your questions:
What is food security?
As per the UN's Committee on World Food Security, when all people have physical, social, and economic access to adequate, safe, and nutritious food that fits their food choices and nutritional requirements is termed food security. In the context of global hunger, it is estimated that between 720 and 811 million people would be hungry by 2020.
In what way are animal diets a cause for world hunger?
Animal-based diets, which are high in meat, are a waste of resources that we sorely need to conserve. Because farmed animals eat significantly more protein, water, and calories than they generate, this is the case. The majority of the protein in the vegetable diet is utilized for body activities rather than being 'converted' to meat, eggs, or milk.
"If all of the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million," David Pimentel, professor of ecology at Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
What role can switching to a plant-based diet play in reducing hunger and improving food security?
Plant-based diets and its environmental benefits would greatly reduce some of the world's hunger-related pressures. By switching to a plant-based diet, the globe would free up valuable agricultural land for human use, eliminating the wasteful practice of feeding plants to animals who are then eaten, and reducing pollution and climate change. However, this would have to be done in tandem with the establishment of new international organizations and infrastructure, or the strengthening of existing entities such as the United Nations, to arrange and distribute food to the hungry.
Grains are the most commonly consumed food on the planet. A plant-based diet would result in the earth producing the most calories, directly to consumers without the need of animals, and the ensuing abundance of land would allow for more crops, potentially helping to feed the world's hungry in today's world for the coming years too. Look how sustainable!
Plant-based diets consume comparatively fewer resources and contribute less to climate change's negative consequences than meat-heavy diets. Consuming meat just once a week, rather than four times a week, will lower commodity costs by diverting less grain to animal feed, making food more affordable to the urban poor. It would also be significantly healthier, given the connection animal products are linked to an increase in lifestyle disorders like obesity.
It's also important to remember that this will not be enough to eradicate world hunger. Even if the world produced billions of pounds more food, these calories would be wasted if they did not reach the hungry.
You are contributing positively, as moving toward plant-based diets has the potential to boost food security sustainably in the battle against world hunger!