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Not enough arable land for humanity to be vegetarians

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pmsl
858627.  Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:52 am Reply with quote

I recall watching the show and Stephen Fry mentioning that there is not enough agricultural land to allow all of humanity to be vegetarians.

I've searched the net and I can only find very strong opinionated vegans saying the opposite.

I'd like to find the source of this!

 
Sadurian Mike
858641.  Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:21 am Reply with quote

A very quick and casual Google brought up a few newspaper articles. I'll go with the Guardian one as it is much more likely to be pro-veggie (the Guardian being the home of home-knitted arts-loving vegetarians).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/feb/24/vegetarianism-save-planet-safran-foer

For me, the key point was that tofu and the like are less 'green' than meat.

It all makes sense, though. Yes, 'growing' a cow takes a lot of vegetation. It takes, however, the sort of vegetation that humans cannot eat. We cannot simply eat the vegetation instead of allowing animals to graze and then eating them. Pot of silage anyone?

 
pmsl
858654.  Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:29 am Reply with quote

I understand where that article is coming from. But unfortunately it disagrees with my initial comment. That there is not enough arable land to allow all humans to be vegies.

In fact, it states the world can support 9bn people to be vegetarians. Being green is simply a by product of our discussion (albeit a very important one)

 
Sadurian Mike
858686.  Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:35 am Reply with quote

pmsl wrote:
I understand where that article is coming from. But unfortunately it disagrees with my initial comment. That there is not enough arable land to allow all humans to be vegies.

That was rather the point. You stated that your internet searching had only found disagreement from 'very strong opinionated vegans', whereas I found the linked article on the first page of my search. Now, whilst I would happily put the Gruniad down as a pro-veggie paper, I would hardly classify the article as promoting 'very strong opinionated vegans'.

The tofu piece was just interesting (which is more than can be said for tofu), which is why I said it was a key point fo rme.

 
CB27
858735.  Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:10 pm Reply with quote

You might want to have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_vegetarianism as a good start.

 
Spud McLaren
859273.  Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:57 am Reply with quote

pmsl wrote:
... there is not enough arable land to allow all humans to be vegies.
But man cannot live by bread alone. Crops other than arable are needed, and may be able to be grown where arable crops can't. This wouldn't work everywhere - the American Dustbowl of the '30s was due to growing wheat where it wasn't suitable (or so I've been led to believe), but other societies with a high proportion of vegetarians seem to be self-sufficient, and they're not all established on the most deep and fertile soils.

Edit: I've just noticed a discrepancy 'twixt the thread header and the OP, and it needs to be sorted out. Do you mean that there isn't enough arable land (why would vegetarians need more grain than omnivores?) or that there isn't enough agricultural land?

 
T J Alex
890601.  Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:56 pm Reply with quote

There are areas of the landscape where animals can graze, but it would be pointless to try and plant crops based on the laws of diminishing returns.

Mountain slopes etc.

And of course rivers lakes and oceans where fish come into the non veggie equation.

But personally I'd rather that there were less humans on the planet with a decent quality of life, then nine billion people living a subsistance lifestyle, and with all of the wars and violence this would cause.

I'll leave aside water wars, pollution and diminishing resources for another day.

 

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