Posted on | ~2 mins
business ethics conscious-capitalism

While reading the Conscious Capitalism book I was reminded of the movie Cowspiracythat I watched some time ago which was quite extreme about livestock animals being the largest producers of greenhouse gases worldwide.

There was criticism whether the facts there were right (pros and cons discussed on Quora and on the blog or plain Google), but the book Conscious Capitalism has quite staggering (and hopefully reliable) numbers which I just want to put out here:

Many of the most serious environmental issues the planet faces are intimately 
connected to global livestock production. In 2006, the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) produced Livestock’s Long Shadow, 
a lengthy report on these impacts. This report documented some startling statistics:
- 30 percent of the entire earth’s land area is now being used for animal production.
- 33 percent of all grains harvested are fed to livestock animals.
- 70 percent of all soy beans harvested are fed to livestock animals.
- 70 percent of all deforested Amazonian rain forest is used for pasture.
- 33 percent of all water pollution in the United States is due to livestock production.
- 18 percent of all greenhouse gases come from livestock production—more than all forms of transportation combined (14 percent)

Further research has found that raising animals for food consumes more than 
half of all the water used in the United States. It takes about 2,400 gallons of water 
to produce a pound of meat, but only 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat.
The average American consumes 273 pounds of meat each year. Animals raised for food 
in the United States produce 130 times more excrement than does the human population.
Since 1980 the global production of pigs and poultry has quadrupled and the production 
of cattle, sheep, and goats has doubled. The FAO predicts that by 2050, livestock production
will again double.

Unlike Cowspiracy, which claimed that 51% of greenhouse gases come from livestock, this one is more moderate. But the other numbers are quite mind blowing.

The report cited in Conscious Capitalism can be found here and here.

The most staggering fact from the movie, which burned into my memory, is that the world has actually enough food for everyone, just much of it is fed to livestock instead of people.