To meet the needs of a growing population without causing further harm to the environment, it is essential that we find ways to use land already devoted to agriculture more efficiently. Perhaps the single easiest way to do this is to reduce meat consumption. Raising meat for food is a very inefficient use of land, because it requires huge areas of land that could otherwise be growing crops for people to be turned over to growing animal feed. In fact, 80% of the corn and 95% of the oats now grown in the United States go to feed not people, but livestock. If the US reduced its meat consumption by just 10%, this would free up enough land to feed 100 million people with plant-based foods. Though making existing cropland produce more food more efficiently will require all kinds of adaptations, cutting back on meat consumption is one of the easiest and simplest changes we can make. By devoting more land to growing plant-based foods for human, rather than animal consumption, we can greatly increase our ability to meet the needs of a growing population.
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