We have been looking at the pros and cons of soy. (See yesterday's article for more on this). To find out more about the environmental impact of soy production versus beef, I turned to the National Wildlife federation and an excellent field educator and researcher there who also happens to be our son. I asked Jake to research a bit on this subject and here is what he revealed.
Here are some links to figures below. While it is certainly true that growing crops (especially grains) for consumption is much more sustainable than cattle, it is not a simple matter of soy is better than beef for the rainforest. This is because, especially in recent years ,huge tracts of primary forest have been cleared to farm soy, to produce cheap protein sources, for cattle feed.
Here are a couple of statistics from the sources below:
1) The same area of land can feed 20 times as many people eating a
vegetarian diet than a meat diet. Vegetarian Society.
2) Every second of every day, one football field of tropical rainforest
is destroyed in order to produce 257 hamburgers.' Steve Boyan PhD,
political science professor at University of Maryland. (via EarthSave)
Rainforest Action Network (Facts About Beef)
Forest Conservation News
The bottom line is that eating meat, especially beef has a much higher environmental impact than grain and vegetable based diets. By gradually switching to a largely vegetarian diet (with much smaller quantities of fish and especially meat) it is more likely that food production can become environmentally sustainable.
Again we have learned that this is a complex field. Soy production is ruining rain forest but perhaps in the long run less than meat will do.
Hopefully have looked at the pros and cons of soy will help us find ways to make our bodies healthier and our environment more pure. Yet there is an even more important point. Nutrition is a seriously complex subject. Understanding this can help us live better in every way as you will see in tomorrow’s message.