Wellbeing

Weekend Inspo: What Would Happen To The World If We All Went Vegetarian?

A woman and her husband are in a restaurant eating dinner and she suddenly starts choking on her meal, so the husband runs to her aid and frantically yells, “Is anyone here a doctor?!” And in response, a voice from the back of the room shouts, “I’m a vegan!”

We don’t need to tell you why the joke is funny (or so popular, for that matter). It’s well known that vegans and vegetarians are outspoken about their lifestyle choices. But it’s also well known how outspoken meat eaters are against the lifestyle choices of vegans and vegetarians. And while listening to a plant-based warrior defend their eating habits as a matter of ‘international emergency’ makes meat eaters want to chow down their chicken nuggets faster, some findings released this week show that what they’re saying is actually totally true.

It’s not breaking news that vegetarianism is good for us and the planet. But just how good is where it gets interesting.

Scienterrific YouTubers ASAP Science released a video titled What If The World Went Vegetarian? that makes our nuggets just a little harder to swallow:

Ooft. Science, right?

So, according to the video, animal agriculture is responsible for over 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than cars, trains, trucks, boats and your pimped out Range Rover combined.

The land used to farm animals is 33 million sq km, or the size of Africa and over 70% of all fresh water consumption is used up on making our favourite meaty meals.

These are huge figures. And what it means is that if we all stopped eating meat we’d reverse the onset of climate change almost immediately.

Just one more time now: if we all stopped eating meat we’d reverse the onset of climate change almost immediately.

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This argument has been backed up by researchers at the University of Oxford. They add that 7 billion people cutting out meat would save 5-8 million lives per year by 2050.

Not only that, but food-related greenhouse gas emissions would also drop by two-thirds. AND we could be up to US$30 trillion richer!

If we all went vegetarian or vegan, we’d have more friends and cleaner air and more money? It’s utopia, you guys.

Yet we still find the preaching of vegos so annoying. Probably because we know deep down that it is better for us and the world, but we’re just busy and imperfect and meat tastes good. As Hank Green of the vlogbrothers points out, “People don’t want to be told that the way that they live their lives and the things that they enjoy are making the world less good.” Yeah, fair enough.

But a little self reflection goes a long way. Are you one of those people who interrogate the lifestyle choices of vegetarians without thinking about your own? It’s something to seriously sit and consider. As is the mounting evidence for the vegetarian lifestyle.


Josephine is a writer from Sydney. She has written for AWOL, Kaleido Press and is a commissioned poet for the Disappearing 2.0. She tweets nonsense here.