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What If The World Went Vegetarian?

Chances are you or someone you know is vegetarian
– so we thought we’d try a thought experiment. What would happen if everyone in the world
was suddenly a vegetarian? What effect would it have on our lives and the planet? Before we begin, full disclosure: none of
us at AsapSCIENCE are vegetarians. And the worldwide rate of vegetarianism is fairly
low, ranging from about 4-5% in the US and Canada to a little over 30% in India. As a
result, there are currently about 20 billion chickens, 1.5 billion cows, over a billion
sheep and nearly a billion pigs in the world. Without any meat-eating humans to provide
a market, whole herds of domestic animals would disappear. And this would free up vast quantities of
land. About 33 million square kilometres of land are used for pasture – an area about
the size of Africa. And that’s not even counting the land used to grow crops exclusively
for animal feed. Some of it would be needed for the increased amount of vegetable crops,
but much of the land currently used as pasture is actually too dry to grow crops. Without
humans adding artificial nutrients, this land could turn to desert, but if properly managed,
it’s possible that some farmland would return to its natural state of grassland or forests,
which could help counteract global climate change. After all, the loss of CO2-absorbing
trees cleared for agriculture is a major reason why global levels of CO2 are going up. Cows and other grazers also affect our climate
through large amounts of methane production, which has 25 times more potential planet-warming
power than CO2. Combined with the loss of forests and other effects, livestock production
is responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than all the
world’s planes, trains and automobiles put together. In fact, many scientists believe
that reducing meat consumption may be one of the best strategies for managing climate
change. A vegetarian diet would also greatly reduce
water consumption; around 70% of global freshwater consumption is used in agriculture. It takes
15,000 litres to make a kilogram of beef, 6,000 L for pork and 4,000 L for chicken – Compare
this with 1,600 L for cereal crops, 900 L for fruit and 300 L for garden vegetables.
Of course a kilogram of meat packs many more calories than an equivalent weight of fruit,
but even if you compare the ratio of water per calorie of available food energy, beef
is still 5 times more water intensive than fruit, 7 times more than veggies and 20 times
more than cereal. So are there any downsides to a vegetarian
diet? Well, we’d be left without a cheap source for many byproducts of livestock, like
leather from animal hides, or animal fats which are used in cosmetics, candles and detergents.
And while vegetable based alternatives do exist, their production would need to increase,
meaning more land dedicated to growing crops and less restored to its natural state. A more complicated fact is that raising and
processing animals is a full-time job for more than 1 billion people – most of whom
are small-scale farmers in the developing world. While some may be able to move to producing
milk or eggs, or even growing vegetable crops, many would be faced with their way of life
becoming obsolete. Of course, any increase in vegetarianism is
likely to be a gradual process rather than a sudden cut-off. And, surprisingly, the trends
are actually in the opposite direction; in places like India and China, people are becoming
wealthier, and as a result, consuming more meat which effectively cancels out the declines
we see in other countries. So, we actually tried to go vegetarian for
21 days straight as an experiment in our new AsapTHOUGHT episode. Check out the video if
you want to see how it went, what we learned in the process and how we felt about it! And subscribe for more weekly science videos!


  1. Srishti 5 Author

    Indian subcontinent needs veganism. The western meat/cheese industry is targetting us now. We are upwards of 1.7 billion. They are creating a market here to continue the animal abuse and environmental destruction. Help spread awareness.

  2. Kelsey Pace Author

    I’m a vegetarian, but my mom is extremely unsupportive about it so I might quit soon. I really don’t want to go back though.😕

  3. qmanzo Author

    I think almost everyone used to be vegetarian 30 years back in india but after 2000,everyone i knew started eating chicken.
    Such a shame.

  4. Aashish Dost Author

    In india , in hinduism we dont consume meat for about 2 months each year including a month without onion and garlic too.

  5. Scourge Star Author

    The point is, not everyone goes Vegetarian at the same time. Then,meat demand will drop little by little until there is no use for it.

  6. Madamé Peanut Author

    I'm a flexitarian, or a semi-vegetarian, I mainly don't eat meat but every once in a while I'll eat chicken or fish, occasionally beef but I avoid pork.

  7. kat undmaus Author

    Typical buzzwords designed to inflame, not illuminate. The truth is, a purely vegan diet is dangerous for human health because of the inability to biosynthesize important nutrients – hence essential nutrients. Vegans will surely suffer from Vitamin B12 and essential amino acid deficiency unless they take supplements.

  8. Bil ceifer teh dorito Author

    Ill make a short resume of what the video says:eating meat is bad,but so is eating veggies,nothing is perfect,we are good the way we are.

    And a personal note:vegans are idiots when they protesr and ruin people's lives by destroying their jobs,of course not every vegan is an idiot,its just that most of them are.

  9. MonkeyTree 44 Author

    If this happens animals will kill you to take vengeance for their fathers and mothers. They can destroy all buildings and meat companies.


  10. Viking Power Author

    Being vegan is not natural. Humans have both eyes in the front of our heads like all other Preditors. Binocular vision to judge depth and distance from our prey. We have large brains to take in all available information and plan multiple strategies to catch and kill our prey. We are born Hunter gatherers. Let's see you die hard vegans argue these facts listed above. It's evolution and there is no argument. So let's do what nature intended humans to do and go grill up some Fat Juicy STEAKS. Peace.

  11. Emily Jones Author

    I have been Vegetarian for over a year now and the rest of my family are huge meat eaters and they are always trying to convince me to eat meat but I won’t so I really want to show all of them this video.

  12. Komper Author

    You kinda forgot the material and energetic cost for plants that would replace all the vitamins and nutrients in meat. Plants that would be able to replace it are the most expensive to grow and least grown currently becouse just vegans require them to stay healthy.

  13. Kamalini Malhotra Author

    Animals are being propogated cruelly for food
    Humans are addicted to meat eating just like they are addicted to cigarettes, drugs, peodofelia and pornography. It is clear that none of these addictions are doing any good to human beings. It is only feeding it's profiteers who don't care what they do to you to make money. Worst still we have all become their agents as we promote meet eating addiction to our innocent children. Do we have the right to call ourselves responsible parents Vegetarian food is not just healthy but just as tasty.

  14. Pook Bear Author

    So there's still a lot of meat products out there even if you don't eat meat like pork in canned beans and gelatin (animal bones) in salad dressing. So even if we go Vegitarian and not vegan we would still theoretically use those. On top of that you didn't mention of the probable deaths of people in third world countries that depend on animals. Cows are also being bred to produce less Co2. Just eat less meat it is too hard for poor people and third world countries not to eat meat.

  15. DJ Burlage Author

    But if the cow shit produces methane and hurts the atmosphere then if we stopped eating meat then wouldn’t there be an increase in cows and an increase in methane gas…….

  16. _aesukii_ TM Author

    I hate it when people start dissing us and tell us how to eat our food, NO I don't want to eat meat, NO I don't want to eat eggs or any kind of stuff that contains meat I want to live my life like I want to and you live your life like you want to, Being a vegan is hard sometimes Just because I'm vegan doesn't mean I'm unhealthy I'm very healthy we get our proteins from peas,Nuts, and many more foods, some of us don't need supplements (like me) because we've been doing this for our whole lives (since we were born), why are you trying to change that? Your worried for our health? Thank you but I don't need It you worry about your own health and I'll worry about mine. Last thing some people didn't choose to be vegan it was for there religious beliefs (like me), And if you think you can change someone's beliefs just because they eat something different from you, may the sun fix your sins anyway what I'm trying to say is don't diss others without logical reasons

  17. giantsquid100! Author

    Maybe the animals disappear because of the lack of plants and nutrients (I wonder where the plants went). Also, this will lead to animals that eat meat to start breeding cows Minecraft style and maybe compete with humans (they could open up there own Fast food restaurants). Since every one suddenly became vegetarian, everyone went to farming because the economy collapsed (All the grills and sandwich shops [yes they could still use that weird soy thing, but no]). Companies like Amazon (They don't sell much meat) will buy most of the farmland leaving a lot of people homeless. Also, pill companies will be getting rich after so many undernourished people suddenly appearing. I can't wait for some person to take this joke comment seriously.

  18. Madison Hofer-Holdeman Author

    It’d be interesting to see the stats now, as I feel there’s been a surge of vegetarianism/veganism (at least in the US).

  19. vianah kothari Author

    Actually 70% of India is vegetarian because India is a Hindu country and Hinduism has a strict vegetarian diet. I'm an Indian and I'm vegetarian. I hope this helped! Have a good day.

  20. TppT ÉnterTaînmènT Author

    It's right time to leave non veg food because we're going to destroying ecosystem croplands water and our beautiful planet's environment..

  21. Elena Ryana Author

    I’m a vegetarian ( I hate meat and actually most animal products but I’m not vegan ) And tbh it’s the best way to live your life. Nowadays the meat is full of chemicals and stuff. It’s not healthy anymore. Oh,and let’s not forget about the way animals are treated in slaughter houses

  22. Jess Barroga Author

    I’m not a vegetarian but honestly dislike it when people look down upon it….I think it’s a good lifestyle:) I love eating more vegetables but honestly I still like eating meat so don’t fight me on liking meat either..

  23. alfred belleza Author

    meat eaters can't stand vegetarians and vegans because they felt attack/threatened when vegans and vegetarians mentions why they pursue it. Typical meat eaters who eats lots of meat everyday tries to prove them wrong because they could not accept that vegans and vegetarians are helping the environment and promoting good health while meat eaters don't. Im pursuing veganism. And everyday my friends & classmates why i went vegan and they keep saying that your a boy and ur so thin, do u feel weak. I wouldve told em that physical figure does not define weakness. Meat eaters should know that eating plant based diet for life is incredibly hard and i salute vegans and vegetarians for that it takes a lot of courage awareness and self control to be one. A plant based diet helps the world might wanna research why people pursue it you will thank them for being one

  24. vidko bregant Author

    Nature will take care for itself-we do not need to worry about it.Like in Eden,we can become better humans and love each other.If it is false otherwise we would not think here about vegetarian ways.KIDS NEVER GIVE UP!This dream is possible,you got the technology-promote better worldForget about the animals we can live in harmony with them.

  25. vidko bregant Author

    It is impossible!So the people get into wars just because of ignorance.And that is the meaty proud.I am sorry for you.I can understand your reaction for we all have to survive.

  26. TMS2021 Pujita J Author

    Me: I’m vegetarian
    Person: oh your missing out a big part of your life
    Me: well at least I’m saving the planet?
    Person: well your killing plants, and you eat eggs which means your killing baby chickens!
    Me: well at least I’m not killing alive species!
    Person: keeps going
    Me: sigh

  27. gEcKoS gEcKoS Author

    If every human were to actually care about global warming and were to do a little something about it every day… that would be cool!

  28. karina p Author

    i'm leaving for college in a month & i intend to go vegetarian then. i don't know if i could keep it up through visits home though because a lot of food in my parents' culture is based around meat. i might try to just be vegetarian when living away ftom home

  29. ElmariaJin Author

    Been a vegetarian for 8 months now and it is pretty easy, the hardest thing is being surrounded by family who eats meat but just not eating the meat was pretty easy

  30. Scobby Do Author

    Im not vegeterian i love meat but It would be really cool if there could be product which could fully replace meat and that killing animals would stop, world would be beautifull place

  31. Harry Serpanos Author

    The myths and falsehoods of Veganism.

    1. All vegans gurus lie, that no other ape eats meat.

    2. Debunking the anti-ruminant arguments of vegans on the climate issue.

    3. The Vegan Fibre Myth Debunked.

    4. The vegan microbiome myths debunked. Prevotella abundance in the gut, like on a plant based diet can induce chronic inflammation,

    while Bacteroides fragilis from meat and fat diet does the opposite. Prevotella increases Th17 mediated inflammation, while Bacteroides fragilis decreases it.

    5. The vegan Alkaline Theory is a Myth. Kresser Acid Alkaline Theory is a Myth:

    6. The Cholesterol Myth (Egg Paradox).

    7. A Plant-based academic with integrity, doing good science finds Atkins is better than Ornish (A year-long Randomised Control Study).

    8. High insulin is the problem (SAD combo diet of high carbs, fat & protein "Randle Cycle in biochemistry"), and not low carb, low carb paleo, keto or carnivore diet, that reduces or eliminates carbs.

    9. Vegan doctors in their arguments against meat continue to use poor associational questionnaire epidemiological studies because it serves their fake narrative. All meat associations of both processed and unprocessed types, have a risk ratio "relative risk" of below 2 (normally between 0.95 to 1.29 "1 being neutral"), which means it's not even at the minimum level to warrant a hypothesis, while 3 being at more respectable hypothesis generation level, let alone infer a credible risk. Smoking is around 20 on average and as high as 35, a massive order of magnitude in terms of statistical strength. In many studies even fruits and vegetables are sometimes over 1, so why is meat being singled out, it's ideological and not scientific.

    10. Our Carnivorous Heritage.

    Nutritional "science" is the only field of knowledge that continues to promotes pseudoscientific ideas, in the face of countless paradoxes (French "Saturated fat diet", Japanese "TMAO 16 times higher in fish than red meat", Maasai diet "multi-generational carnivores" etc), while all other fields of science reject hypothesis that cannot explain away paradoxes.

    I can point to many multigenerational largely carnivorous societies, vegans can't point to a single pure plant-based multigenerational society. Their FAD supplemented "B12, etc" dietary lifestyle is the product of a modern society disconnected from nature and unable to accept the natural carbon cycle of life and death, like this enlightened ex-vegan and environmental activist that saw the light and came around to understanding this fundamental truth.

  32. Asha • Author

    Im not vegen but i love vegtables and fruits 🍇🍈🍉🍊🍒🥑🍆🍒🍞🍆🥑🍊🍠🍊🥑🥑🥜🌽🌶🍋🥝🍞🥐

  33. Papagaya M Author

    Good video. You actually forgot to say that becoming a vegetarian also contributes to saving oceans which absorde more CO2 than Amazon Forest itself 🌳🐳
    Peace ✌️

  34. Sixchuter Hatesgoogle Author

    The north american continent was once covered by millions of bison. Do you think bison aren't flatulent? The "cow farts" argument is just stupid.

  35. vera Author

    to the people who use the “plants feel pain too” argument against vegetarianism…

    what do cows, chickens and pigs eat? oh that’s right. plants. so by eating meat you’re killing an animal and tons of plants. may as well just eat the plant?


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