What Would Happen If the Planet Went Vegetarian
LV Anderson: Things would get crazy—but what we're doing now is just as crazy
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2014 12:43 PM CDT
What would happen if the entire planet started eating a plant-based diet?   (©)

(Newser) – If it was up to PETA, the whole world would go vegan. But what if that actually happened? LV Anderson tackles the question in Slate by looking at recent relevant research, and finds that planet-wide vegetarianism or veganism would have quite a few positive ramifications: reduced greenhouse gas emissions, millions of square miles of newly available land (which we'll need as the population continues to increase), and a decrease in the risk of antibiotic-resistant infections. But there would be real negatives as well—like widespread unemployment as the estimated 1.3 billion people whose livelihood is tied to the production and sale of animal products find themselves jobless.

Of course, this is all a moot point, as there's no way everyone on the planet will stop eating meat anytime soon. "But if the result of a worldwide shift to a plant-based diet sounds like a right-winger’s worst nightmare, it’s worth pointing out that continuing to eat as much meat as we currently do promises to result in a left-winger’s worst nightmare," Anderson writes. "In a world of untrammeled global warming, where disastrous weather events are routine, global conflicts will increase, only the wealthy will thrive, and the poor will suffer." So how about a "middle path," where we eat less meat and stop giving money to the worst offenders—factory farms? Click for Anderson's full column.

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Showing 3 of 73 comments
rickydarlin
May 11, 2014 9:08 AM CDT
have you ever LOOKED at a person that doesn't eat meat.....they all look SICK
BCS
May 7, 2014 1:06 AM CDT
What if this happens because this happens because this happens.
NessiesAunt
May 5, 2014 5:09 PM CDT
Drastically cutting down on meat lets me grow most of what I eat in my raised planters. I buy my eggs because all the hawks and raccoons, not to mention hunting dogs, around here would make protecting hens too much trouble. But, with planters, I need a lot less space than you would think and I know my food is organically grown. All that space farmers need is just to give them enough room to operate the machinery. Incidentally, when vitamin pills get out of date, I add them to my compost barrel.