The 2050 Diet - How to Save the Planet and Eat Sustainably on a Planet of 9 Billion People

by Simon Lamey
(London, United Kingdom)

Preface: What follows is a short version of a much longer article into the diet we will need to use to live sustainably on a planet of 9 billion people. The full article is here.

9 Billion People

By 2050 the world will reach 9 billion people. That's another 1.6 billion people to be born in the next 35 years on top of today's 7.4 billion people. To put that in perspective, that's almost 4.5 times the current population of the United States of America.

When it comes to how we feed this world of 9 billion sustainably, we will have to change what we eat today dramatically.

Food for Thought

Choosing the food that we eat is one of the biggest ways that we can help save the planet from climate change. The USDA, for example, recommends a diet based on vegetable, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and wholegrains in order to save the planet.

Meat and dairy are the biggest areas that I believe that we can address for reducing their impact on climate change, as they contribute a significant amount of greenhouse gases.

As Kate Geagan writes in "Go Green, Get Lean":

"Calorie for calorie... growing produce (fruits and vegetable) requires 2 fossil fuel calories to create 1 calorie of food, while growing animal protein requires 20 to 80 fossil fuel calories."

Five American Eco-Friendly Food Organizations

A largely plant-based and limited meat and dairy diet, with produce sourced locally, seasonally and organically is the best route to go. And it does not need to be difficult. If you are time poor or in need of a place to look, here are 5 in the USA:

  1. Door to Door Organics (delivering in Chicago, Cleveland, Colorado, Kansas City, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware) looks to be very similar to other box schemes with meats and fish being wild caught and grass-fed.

  2. Washington's Green Grocer (delivering in Washington DC, Baltimore, Northern Virginia) is strong on service, sustainability and caring for the environment, with over 20 years’ experience.

  3. Nature's Garden (Atlanta) is similar to other services, but offers the chance to form a Co-op with 4 or more people - something great that I haven't seen too much of.

  4. Urban Organic (New York Tri-State, Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey) buys in bulk as much as possible from local organic farmer co-operatives, supporting local communities.

  5. (San Francisco and Bay Area, Los Angeles and Orange County) links to local farmers and tries to re-use or recycle packaging.

3 British Eco-Friendly Food Organizations

If you live in the UK, I believe that there are 3 groups with strong planet-friendly ethics and high standards of animal welfare:

  1. I currently use Abel and Cole, and not only is their produce amazing, their marketing and tone of voice is next to none (which is why they have been defined as one of the Cool Brands of the year).

    What makes it extra "Green Fastlane" worthy is that it is delivered to my door and only costs £1.50 for the delivery charge, saving me the time, fuel and parking money of driving to a supermarket.

    Abel and Cole has also emailed me to confirm that any of their food from abroad is sea-freighted to minimize their environmental impact.

  2. Riverford looks to be similar to Abel and Cole. Worth a look too. If you live in London, then Growing Communities might be more of your bag.

    They do organic veg and box schemes and grow some produce on their city farms, as well as connecting with other nearby farmers. Unlike Abel and Cole or Riverford, they don't sell meat or dairy.

  3. Farmaround has wonderful organic and animal welfare principles and delivers produce to most of England (but not all). It doesn't sell meat but sells dairy products from sheep that have been rescued from slaughter, and cows and chickens who live out their full and natural lives on the land.

    If you keep your dairy intake to a sustainable level, what a wonderful business to buy from.

Alternatively, you can use the local organic box schemes, which help sustain your local community and are more likely to be more nutritionally and environmentally beneficial, being closer to home.

If you want to read the full article please click this link.

Comments for The 2050 Diet - How to Save the Planet and Eat Sustainably on a Planet of 9 Billion People

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Dec 11, 2015
2050 Diet and the Number of Animals
by: Simon

Thanks Bill. The post is not supposed to advocate having fewer animals. It's about eating fewer of them and ensuring the ones that are used for meat and dairy have a natural and good, free-range life.

Yes, I suppose that it does means that as a reduction in meat and dairy demand will mean that less livestock (for example) will be born (but it certainly doesn't mean culling).

Dec 09, 2015
2050 Diet
by: Bill

I am a vegetarian so I believe in the 2050 diet. However, are you saying if humans increase, animals must decrease significantly? Humans were supposed to take good care of the Earth & living creatures. A world without or with few animals is sad. The Second Coming is coming soon because of humanities blunders.

Dec 05, 2015
Cowspiracy Debunked
by: Laurent Cousineau

Here is another article on my website written by Daniel Bailey: Cowspiracy Debunked

Dec 05, 2015
In response to 50% impact of meat and dairy finding
by: Simon

It's good to see other sources here. Thank you. It looks like a minefield trying to get the right number. On the other side, I even found Cowspiracy quoting 51% that livestock contribute to global warming.

For me the big point is that meat and dairy contributes a significant amount to global warming and the behaviour change should be the same: a change in our diets to reduce carbon emissions with meat and dairy being the main culprit.

Dec 04, 2015
Don't Exagerate Contribution of Agriculture
by: Laurent Cousineau

In your longer article you wrote that meat and dairy may contribute up to 50% of greenhouse gases which is a huge exaggeration.

Please read this article by Daniel Bailey which is on my website.

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