Which Is Worse For The Planet? Eating Meat Or Population Growth?

April 28, 2021

According to Riskier Business (2020), top 3 reasons that constitute to most tropical deforestation are:

1) Beef production

2) Soy (which over 70% of it is used to feed livestock for meat industry)

3) Oil palm plantation

Also according to Oxfam (2015), "The poorest half of the global population are responsible for only around 10% of global emissions yet live overwhelmingly in the countries most vulnerable to climate change – while the richest 10% of people in the world are responsible for around 50% of global emissions" as quoted originally.

With these two pieces of information, we can deduce that:

1) Population growth of the poor is NOT the main driver of carbon emission, because their lifestyle is so much environmental friendly.

2) The rich, although small in quantity, their luxurious lifestyle (eating steak like eating rice, consumerism, capitalism) has so much bigger impact.

3) The poor cut down trees for basic survival, the rich indirectly cut down trees for unnecessary high standard of living.

It is never the problem of population growth, but it is the problem of the rich getting richer.

As people get richer, they tend to eat more meat and buy more. Some conservationists are worried about the rise of China, which may change 1.4 billions of Chinese eating habits into a more Western diet (meat-based) [1].

As the population grows, the higher the demand of food, and more trees are being cut down to support unsustainable lifestyle of the rich humans.

By "rich", I mean us, who can afford meat on daily basis.