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When high-fat, low-carb diet pioneer Tim Noakes told Huffington Post South Africa ‘the only way we will save the planet is by going back to meat eating’, I couldn’t help but laugh.
The scientist, who is the founder of the Banting diet, has also described a plant-based diet as a ‘dangerous trend’ for the environment.
Noakes believes an abundance of livestock agriculture could save the planet from the impact of climate change – so is he right?
Noakes said: “The only way we will save the planet is by going back to meat eating.
“By having farms where animals are eating grass, and manuring the land, means that all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could return if they start more meat production.”
He added: “Topsoil is disappearing due to plant-based agriculture, and I worry that you can’t continue like this much longer because the myth that livestock is driving environmental issues is driven by the fossil fuel industry and they are very powerful obviously.”
Noakes, who is a doctor of sports physiology, went on to blame Bill Gates and Richard Branson, who influenced the shift toward plant-based diets; he claimed that ‘the move against meat-based diets is unfounded, and irresponsible to promote at this stage’.
So let’s have a look at the evidence, and not let ourselves be swayed by unfounded arguments.
Need I remind you, Mr. Noakes, that up to 51 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture?
Only reducing red meat consumption could lead to a per capita food and land use-related greenhouse gas emissions reduction of between 15 and 35 percent by 2050, according to research. And ditching meat altogether could slash emissions in half.
Or was the United Nations wrong when it said that a global shift toward vegan eating is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change?
Noakes also seems to be ignoring the issue of methane emissions.
Raising animals for meat produces methane, which has a global warming potential 86 times that of carbon dioxide on a 20-year time frame; reducing methane emissions could create tangible benefits almost immediately.
And what about water? 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of beef.
Noakes believes plant-based diets are a ‘dangerous trend’; what he probably means by that is dangerous to him and his agenda.
Feeding massive amounts of grain and water to livestock, killing them, transporting, and storing their ‘meat’ requires huge amounts of energy.
“The most powerful step that we can take as individuals to halt climate change is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy ‘products’,” says the United Nations.
The animal industry is single-handedly destroying the planet: climate change, ocean dead zones, species extinction, deforestation, fisheries depletion – and the list goes on.
Mounting evidence suggests that dropping animal-based foods has positive impact on the environment.
But Tim Noakes seems to be turning a blind eye to this – to further his own agenda?