Earth has been overexploited, polluted, and converted into a giant industrial farm.
Unfortunately, three quarters of this farm is not used to grow grains, fruits, and vegetables to support humans, but to create biofuels and support the hundreds of billions of creatures they eat. This industry violently disrupted the biosphere to establish a destructive cycle of consumption through climate change, deforestation, ocean acidification, irrigation, soil degradation, pollution, overfishing, overhunting, and worst of all, factory farming.
Hunger is caused by poverty, inequality and inefficient agricultural and political systems, not scarcity. For the past two decades, the rate of global food production has increased so fast that the world already produces enough to feed 10 billion people. So the call to double food production by 2050 only applies if we continue to prioritize animals and machines over hungry people.
Earth’s grasslands are depleting at an alarming rate to accommodate livestock and livestock feed, which now occupy 1/3 of the Earth’s ice-free surface and consume 2/3 of the world’s fresh water. So the only way to produce more livestock and feed is by cutting down natural forests. Factory farming is responsible for up to 91% of the Amazon’s destruction. In just four decades, the largest rain forest on Earth has been reduced by 20%. Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful gasses from the air to release oxygen. Chopping them down releases an estimated 2.4 billion tons of C02 annually. If we lose enough trees, nature will soon be unable to keep the balance. At this rate, humanity will reach the point of no return within decades.
After evolving for billions of years to sustain life, Earth is now facing its sixth mass extinction not because of ‘climate change’ but climate destruction perpetrated by over 7 billion humans. Biodiversity is a finite resource so threatened and endangered, that experts believe seafood may already disappear by 2050. The majority of the world’s fishing grounds are exhausted, depleted, or in dangerous decline. Our selfish method of growth is completely unsustainable.
Earth has never experienced such overexploitation. The world’s leading scientists and environmentalists believe that if the agricultural industry continues to grow at this rate, our climate will be irreversibly damaged and cause an ecological chain reaction that will end life as we know it. This century is humanity’s last stand. This will either be a new beginning or the beginning of the end. By the time we convince the world to eat and live more consciously, there won’t be a planet left. So our mission is to tackle agriculture itself and to develop the right solution, we need to understand the problem by diving into the most putrid industry on Earth.
Factory farms are designed to raise as many animals as possible at the lowest possible cost. Their business strategy is to squeeze thousands of animals into an enclosure they can barely move in. They accelerate livestock growth by using heavy proteins, growth hormones, and supplements, and administer antibiotics to eliminate viruses and prevent the animals from dying. The problem is that antibiotics are a limited resource and the more they use them, the faster bacteria will evolve to protect themselves and eventually become unstoppable! The majority of antibiotics are used by the livestock industry but it opposes any regulations on drug use and denies that there are any side effects.
Maintaining these giant facilities requires an enormous amount of water and energy. Cleaning just one cow and disposing its waste demands 150 gallons of water per day. The majority of water is used for washing and processing animals during slaughter and this water is so contaminated that it cannot be returned to the water system. So factory farms dispose it any way they can or convert it into fertilizer that contains high levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and other hazardous by-products. Most animal food is grown using untreated manure, synthetic fertilizers, and aggressive pesticides that poison every level of the food chain.
Most of the meat today comes from factory farms, not green pastures. Factory farms are allowed to abuse animals, pollute the planet, and singlehandedly lead the climate crisis with near-impunity. The meat, poultry, and seafood market will be globally worth over $7 trillion by 2025 and it remains notoriously unregulated. Governmental agencies are consistently caving in to industrial pressure and failing to establish stronger regulations. Communities are suffering as much as the animals due to their incompetence. The air within factory farms is thick with methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide gases that spread for hundreds of miles, poisoning thousands of people annually.
Healthy animals produce manure that nourishes the soil. Unhealthy livestock produce manure that is rich with antibiotics, hormones, bacteria, salts, metals, nitrates and pesticides that wreak environmental havoc. This untreated waste contains concentrations of pathogens and chemical residue up to 100 times higher than human waste. Hormones cannot be filtered out and when animals consume antibiotics, the majority of it passes into manure unchanged, which breeds drug-resistant superbugs. Factory farms produce hundreds of millions of tonnes of waste annually and by 2030, they will generate over 5 billion tonnes. Unlike human waste, animal waste is not processed as sewage and is the leading producer of methane, which is over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the planet. Many other compounds are also released, such as nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more calamitous.
For centuries, farmers have used animal manure to fertilize their fields, but factory farms generate 130 times more waste than all of humanity combined, which is too much for the land to absorb. A single dairy cow drops as much wet manure as 40 people per day. All of it is dumped into landfills and lagoons packed with hazardous chemicals and bacteria that seep into the soil and spill into rivers, creating devastating levels of contamination that will linger for decades. Runoffs cause algal blooms that kill millions of fish by depleting water oxygen and forming hundreds of ‘dead zones’ worldwide where sea creatures cannot survive. The largest runoff dead zone is located in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the size of New Jersey and is growing rapidly. So farms are basically feeding animals toxic food that produces toxic waste that ends up in toxic landfills and lagoons that thoroughly poison the Earth.
Agriculture is a global operating system that governs and negatively impacts our planet more than any other industry. Scientists and environmentalists around the world have been desperately fighting to raise awareness for decades but by the time society understands, there won't be a planet left. The only way to change the status quo is by convincing this $2.4 trillion industry to stop destroying our ecosystem by offering alternative solutions that are good for business.