Want to save the planet? Eat protein from mushrooms and algae instead of red meat | Adrien Mattei

sPutting a fifth of the red meat we eat with microbial proteins derived from fungi or algae could reduce annual deforestation by a whopping 56% by 2050, according to the study Posted this spring.

Climatologists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have simulated four future scenarios in which humans replace either 0%, 20%, 50% or 80% of red meat in our diets with microbial protein, a low-calorie, high-protein, high-fiber fermented product that is already An ingredient in some commercial alternative meats, including Corn And the Find nature. The researchers then looked at how this change in diet would affect global forests by 2050.

Currently, the planet is losing almost 10 pm Hectares of forest per year, estimated 95% including tropical forests, and 75% Driven by agricultural expansion, particularly cattle ranching and soybean farms to feed livestock. Deforestation contributes to climatic imbalances, desertification and water scarcity, greenhouse gas emissions, flooding and erosion, and the destruction of biodiversity, including critical crop pollinators.

The study found that replacing just 20% of our meat with microbial protein could more than halve the rate of deforestation and reduce carbon emissions related to livestock by 2050. The authors of a separate 2021 report wrote that microbial foods significantly outperform “staple crop farming in terms of Calorie and protein yields per land area. study on the efficiency of the food source. By contrast, cattle consume approximately 80% of global farmland while producing less than 20% of the world’s calories, a hugely inefficient system. Science suggests that these mushroom-neighboring proteins could play an important role in addressing the interconnected challenges of climate change and food security as the population grows toward 9.7 billion people by 2050.

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Encouragingly, meat alternatives – including those made from lab-grown animal cells, plants and microbial proteins – are already proving popular with the general public. Meat substitutes market a plus significantly from $4.2 billion in sales in 2020 to $28 billion in 2025, according to IPES-Food. Several new companies, including Colorado-based Mitte and California-based Prime Roots, are betting that a fungus-based alternative meat is the future.

If “microbial proteins” don’t sound appetizing to you, the good news is that any reduction in red meat in our diets is a positive, no matter which vegetarian option we replace it with. Already, an increasing number of us are changing our diet; Percentage of practicing people Flexibility From 28% in 2017 to 39% in 2019, depending on the market Research. In fact, scientists decided years ago that if we all met our basic dietary recommendations, which for us in developed countries primarily mean eating more plants and less meat, greenhouse gas emissions could go down. 29% by 2050.

However, while limiting red meat intake seems obvious enough, convincing millions to change their eating habits can be a bit complicated. The latest version of Ipsos exploratory study It found that although 68% of adults in 31 countries were “concerned” about climate change, only 44% said they would likely reduce their meat consumption by replacing meat with alternative protein sources.

This reservation points to the power of the agreement and the widespread belief that it is the responsibility of companies and governments to deal with climate crises. The latter is certainly true — after all, companies and governments must do more to support a climate-secure future, and world leaders have already pledged to end deforestation by 2030 at COP26.

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But a similar pledge was made at the summit in 2014 Failed; And 65% of Americans said they feel the federal government does. do very little To reduce the effects of climate change, they can be effective and empower individuals to make simple, environmentally friendly lifestyle changes to help mitigate climate change while still requiring widespread action from the leadership.

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