What is Your Menu Choice?
This graphic compares and contrasts the consequences of an organic whole-foods plant-based meal for 7.5 billion people vs. the conventional meal. It highlights the enormous impact that we have with our food choices. For references, please see our Facts page.
If you feed everyone a whole-foods plant-based diet, you would need 1.5 million tons of food, roughly 0.5 lbs per person, for each meal. After each meal, we could go out and reforest 1.5 million acres for the next 8 years on the land that is currently being used for grazing farmed animals. The recovering forests would store an additional 600 Billion tons (estimated at 50 tons per acre) of carbon upon maturity, which would be sufficient to reverse climate change and heal the earth's climate. There would be 40,000 fewer deaths during/after each meal and we would save 3 trillion gallons of fresh water, provide fresh habitat for the animals and heal the earth.
In contrast, if people insist on eating as they do today, you would need to procure roughly 9 million tons of food per meal. Of that, 7.5 million tons will be fed to our farmed animals, while the humans consume 1.5 million tons. This means that while we eat 0.5 lbs per person per meal, we need to procure an additional 2.5 lbs of food per person per meal to feed our farmed animals. In return, these farmed animals provide approximately 1 oz per person per meal, a 40:1 reduction in biomass up the trophic level.
Then talk about how 1 oz is so little and affluent people are used to eating 3-4 times as much at each meal. Besides, for each meal, we would need to kill 2 billion animals, deforest 20,000 acres and degrade 7 million acres of land. Who is going to do all that degrading work? If you had asked the question about whether anyone would deliberately hurt an innocent animal unnecessarily, you can then say that since none of you want to do the killing, how would we persuade others to do the necessary killing? Well, we can bully people of color, women and weaker people to do all the dirty, gruesome work.
Enter racism, colonialism, sexism, classism. A few people print pieces of paper with pictures of dead Presidents on them and throw them on the floor of the dining hall before each meal. People scramble madly to collect these papers. The ones who don't have the papers are then forced to do the killing by the people who have the pieces of paper. If they don't do the dirty work, they won't get fed. They certainly won't get their 1 oz share of animal food, because those are reserved for those who want to eat 3-4 ozs and have lots of pieces of paper.
Then after every meal, we make the women take the animals out for grazing in order to degrade 7 million acres of land. Further, because we have to extract 6 times as much food as we truly need, we pour lots of chemicals to increase crop yields which then runoff into the ocean and cause 1 million acres of dead zones for every meal.
Finally, please tell the audience that this shows the enormous God-like power - of life and death - that we collectively wield at every meal! We can choose to heal the earth or we can choose to kill all life on earth. All lives are at the mercy of our food choices.