Instead of adjusting our stomach to the landscape, we adjusted the landscape to our stomach!

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We created farms to control the number of animals and plants.

But cows are only a middleman in the food chain. It's much more efficient to eat the plants directly.

So meat was always a luxury.

Until the rich countries came up with another trick: grow even more food and feed it to animals.
This made it possible for rich countries to eat meat every day.

But it requires so much energy and space that there's not enough left for wild animals.

Drag the land to the matching category

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More info

Obviously this graphic is oversimplified. The point is that we are using human food for animals. The corn we give them wouldn't be suited for human consumption but you could grow human food on that same soil.

Most livestock also eats grass but all the cheap animal products are definitely fed with other food. In the US and Europe we use more than half of all our grain harvest for livestock feed.

Source: Rise foundation

We will look at land use in a later quest but here is an interesting overview:

Source: Our world in data


And while we feed our cows, pigs and chickens...

... 800 million people still don't have enough food.
Our planet has more than enough food for a growing population.
But not if we force it to provide lots of meat everyday.
More info

Maybe you've seen the expression that if everyone lived like a US citizen, we would need 4 Earths. Those numbers relate to all consumption and food is a big part of that. 

In other words, people in Europe and the US can only live like this because the rest of the world isn't. 

The food system

Problem 1 of 4

Our current appetite, especially for meat, is higher than what nature can provide.

Eating eagles would be extremely stupid. Eating cows everyday isn't much smarter.

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More information: A five-step plan to feed the world on National Geographic