If you're not a fan of black beans and tofu, you may be out of luck in about 40 years. Some of the world's foremost water scientists say the planet will have to cut its consumption of animal-based products from 20% to about 5% by 2050, assuming we want to feed the additional 2 billion people who are projected to occupy the Earth by that date. Basically, we need to figure out how to squeeze more food out of our existing land and water, and a vegetarian diet uses five to 10 times less water than animal-based foods, reports the Guardian.
"The UN predicts that we must increase food production by 70% by mid-century. This will place additional pressure on our already stressed water resources," reads the report, whose release coincides with the start of the annual world water conference in Stockholm. And water supply issues won't be limited to food: The report notes that the need to feed more will come as "we also need to allocate more water to satisfy global energy demand—which is expected to rise 60% over the coming 30 years—and to generate electricity for the 1.3 billion people currently without it."