Excuse me if I digress onto a planetary health strand. But this one has been eating at me and I cannot shake it off.
Anyway I went to a talk by George Monbiot monbiot.com/ recently. He is not a vegan, but is almost there. For example he eats road-kill and I think he hunts. In his talk he claimed that the whole story behind bringing just one pasture-raised leg of lamb to the dinner table was equivalent to taking a flight in an airplane.
I have been trying to find justification for this and as far as I see it so far it is around his aspirations of rewilding. Pasture-raised animals take up a lot of land, by definition. As the planet reduces its dependency on meat, and here we are talking about pasture raised animals, then any land unsuitable for raising crops can be returned to become forest again.
At the heart of this is the fact that if we do not eat animals our global need for land will significantly reduce. In my mind I have a guesstimate of around a sixth of the land needed. Probably in his thinking is if we also much of the 90% of soy and corn crops fields used to feed commercial animals could be rewilded also.
Here in England we have so called forests, but largely these are just woodland surrounded by fields and towns. If 5/6ths of those fields were rewilded into forest land that would be so good for carbon storage as trees came back. It would be so good for bio-diversity, allowing a much more diverse range of flora and fauna.
So what is getting my gut here is something that I had not previously considered. Many people who argue for meat consumption say that you cannot grow crops on some of that land. Monbiot's point is that since growing just crops to feed the world requires so much less land (and I have suggested here that we need around a sixth of the total farm land) then the remaining five-sixths can be rewilded, and thus with significantly more true forests carbon capture could really take off along with much greater bio-diversity.