7. FAKE MEAT
Dear carnivores, I have good news and bad news. First the bad: Meat production is absolutely atrocious for the planet. In 2017, more than 15,000 world scientists signed a Warning to Humanity calling for, among other things, drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of meat. One issue is land use. The production of beef relies on 164 square meters of grazing land per 100 grams of meat and is one of the major causes of deforestation in Central and South America, leading to unprecedented carbon release into the atmosphere. The Food and Agriculture Organization believes livestock accounts for about 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Animals also use huge amounts of freshwater while the contaminated runoff from industrial livestock operations pollutes local waterways.
8. PLANT-BASED PLASTIC
We have to put an end to single-use plastics. Initiatives are already underway across the U.S. to ban or severely limit their use. Where I live, in LA, plastic straws are only given out upon request and single-use plastic bags have disappeared from grocery stores. But the problem is deep-rooted and deeply ingrained in our consumption economy. I live near the ocean, and the quantity of plastic debris that’s visible on an average day is devastating.
Plant-based plastics that biodegrade are one palatable solution, as they could, in theory, replace many of the plastic products already in circulation. An Indonesian company called Avani Eco has been making bio-plastic out of cassava since 2014. Like fake meat and solar glass, this should become a booming sector in the years ahead. But beware: Not all bioplastics biodegrade, and the merit of some production techniques is debated. Part of becoming a responsible consumer in the next decade will be knowing the life cycle of the products we choose to buy, from creation to entropy.