Veganomics: could cutting meat save the planet and make you money?

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There has been a growing awareness of the impacts of what eating meat does to the environment well you might not read about agriculture as much in the headlines about global warming in fact agriculture is a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions so that’s even bigger than transportation that’s equivalent to electricity production and those are the two largest

Categories of greenhouse gas emissions also agriculture accounts for more emissions than even industry one of the reasons why agriculture is such a big source of emissions is because of methane cows produce methane and methane is a very very potent warming gas a pound for pound methane has 25 times the warming impact that carbon dioxide does over the course of

A century the reason agricultural emissions are so important is because they are going to increase a lot between now and 2050 the world’s population is going to go up to nine point six billion people and they’re going to shift to a more meat intensive and very intensive diet if current trends continue meat and dairy consumption will go up 70% from 2010 to 2050

And total agricultural emissions will increase 80% to produce one kilo of beef requires 15,000 liters of water a kilo of eggs takes 3,200 litres of water and milk a thousand liters all of these are much higher than a kilo of vegetables which takes just 300 liters to produce so in a world where the climate is warming and water resources are becoming ever more

Scarce the water intensity of the food we eat will be even more important racing and feeding livestock requires a third of the world’s ice-free land it’s not just that the amazon rainforest is being cleared to make way for farmland it’s also the impact on that land from the pesticides and antibiotics that are part of industrial scale farming if everybody became

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Vegan tomorrow it would save over 3.1 billion hectares of land that’s the size of the african continent this is according to a study done at oxford university even though the data is out there people do not want to be lectured to about what to eat and what not to eat so a lot of the information that you see about reducing an individual carbon footprint focuses

On buying an electric vehicle insulating your house putting solar panels on the roof and while those are all good things the simplest cheapest thing to do might actually just be to eat less meat to begin with well it’s still only a small community of people who are in fact vegan awareness of this issue is really growing and investors too are taking notes the

City of london is not exactly a hotbed of veganism while the trendy bits of east london are all about your almond milk cappuccinos around here near the bank of england you can barely move for steak restaurants this place is a bit of a city institution serving steak and only steak so the question is could finance be part of this move away from animal products

Constantly in the short-term that’s a different offense this place is rammed every day but if the city is good at anything it’s good at sniffing out lucrative opportunities and the massive growth the green bond market for example shows us that people are willing to put their money where their mouth is and the city knows green bonds a big business with over 200

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Billion dollars issued already this year investment houses are also piling into sustainable bonds it’s clear that people with cash are willing to put their money to work in a way that uses virtue exchange-traded funds will exclude investments in anything that exploits animals in any way as well as things like tobacco and arms and other stuff that doesn’t meet our

Criteria in total the environmental social and governance focused etf market has grown by 500% over the past five years it’s still small fry compared to the overall size of the market but it’s definitely growing there’s what some describe as a tsunami of demands coming from maturing millennials for environmentally and socially conscious investment products this

Vegan etf is new and untested and if this place shows us anything it’s that culturally there’s a long way to go being a vegetarian doesn’t solve all the problems about factory farming about the environmental impacts so i went vegan argentine food not a good play sake sake take betty oxen down here nothing vegan this is venezuelan pork beef we’ve got some black

Beans and fried plantains so there is an option there mexican it’s a veggie option but i just want to have it with cheese that’s just got cheese everywhere vietnamese foods are tofu i haven’t met anyone who thinks this is abs knives of me as a vegetarian forgetting about meat becomes quite easy but you become very reliant on cheese and eggs cheese is delicious

There is no substitute for this cheese there were vegan cheese’s but i’m gonna be honest they don’t smell like this they don’t taste like there’s the easiest way to be vegan is just to like totally avoid stuff like this and pretend it doesn’t exist started off being vegan for a month i’m still going a couple of months down the line your first week as a vegan

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I found quite tough you go home and you think i’ll just make a quick onlet and your eyes can’t do that i just fries them halloumi can’t do that it took me at least a couple of weeks to kind of adjust to find my feet there’s definitely still a weird thing about being vegan it does kind of invoke this idea of evangelical people who are going to force you to give

Up me force you to give up cheese and who probably take themselves a bit seriously i think it’s a lot more flexible than people think and it isn’t like some weird cult it’s still a small minority and i think that makes it difficult for a politician to say do anything like impose a meat tax that would be the most unpopular tax you could think of to punish people

For eating bacon a small number of vegans have pushed the food industry into changing that’s why you see big brown restaurants with vegan options vegetarian options it’s why you see pop up places with much more vegan offering gradually the door is being pushed open can i honestly say i’ll be vegan in a year’s time i know because it takes a bit of work but it’s possible

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Veganomics: could cutting meat save the planet and make you money? By Financial Times

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