A lot of people tell me, as if they are so certain that it is true, that we need to reduce the amount of meat we eat. Because, you know… the environment. They don’t really go into any more detail but they do say: “Oh you have to eat less meat because of the environment.”
And I think history is a very good lesson for what is actually good for the environment.
You need to look at it from the right perspective. How has this whole thing been working for millions of years? And the truth of the matter is there were billions of animals on the planes, migrating up and down. And that is the ecosystem in which this whole thing evolved.
I was recently driving down to Cape Town, listening to the Audible version of Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It is a very good historical record of how humans came to be.
So, I’m listening to all this information and it is all very enlightening. History is a very finicky subject but there are very broad generalisations that we can be quite certain of.
In the book, he was sort of describing how, whenever humans moved to a place, the megafauna disappeared.
And, on the roads, I’m looking out on the plains and, for those who do not know, on the way down to Cape Town, you basically drive across the entire South Africa, so you go from the savannah to this desert, Karoo area.
From where we live to the Western Cape, it is about a thousand kilometres (more). So, I’m driving through the very savannah grasslands and open fields of land, thinking there used to be very large animals that were roaming these planes like elephants.
Think about how much they eat in a day and how much methane they produced. How many of them were there? How many wildebeest? How many animals would I have seen just on my trip down to Cape Town?
But now, I will hardly see any animals on my trip down to Cape Town. I just see cows in the fields and then when you get to the more desert parts, you start seeing more sheep. The farmer knows what works best in which climate.
But I’m looking at this now and think: People think we need to have fewer animals to have a positive impact on the environment. But the fact is that this environment was thriving and doing way better with way less soil erosion. And all these factors were less when there were more animals on the land.
And so, if the land did so well when there were more animals, why can’t we put more animals on the land right now?
As humans, we used to hunt down big game animals, and that game is gone now.
And I feel like we could try to create farm environments that simulate those old and natural environments.
And we’ll probably see the environment thrive and we will probably see the carbon footprint reduce because you will start to see things like the way they were before we started influencing everything.
Because at the moment, I think there are too few animals and they are not moving in natural ways, and that is partly why we are seeing all the devastation we have today and it is not because the cows are farting and the environment is getting worse.
I think we need more cattle and better farming practices to save the environment.