Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg wants to change how the world produces and consumes food to fight carbon emissions, disease outbreaks and animal suffering.
In a video posted on social media on Saturday, Thunberg said the environmental impact of farming and disease outbreaks such as COVID-19 would be reduced by changing how food is produced.
The World Health Organization has said the coronavirus was probably transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, while scientists say 60% of the infectious human diseases that emerged from 1990 to 2004 came from animals.
“Our relationship with nature is broken. But relationships can change,” Thunberg said in the video. “83% of the world’s agricultural land is used to feed livestock, yet livestock only provide 18% of our calories,” Thunberg said.
“The way we make food – raising animals to eat, clearing land to grow food to feed those animals – if we continue, we will run out of land and food,” she continued. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
“If we keep making food the way we do, we will also destroy the habitats of most wild plants and animals, driving countless species to extinction.”
Thunberg also addressed the suffering of animals in agriculture: “Every year we kill more than 60 billion animals – excluding fish whose numbers are so great that we only measure their lives by weight.”
“What about their thoughts and feelings? Some animals plan for the future, forge friendships that last for decades,” she said about animals.
“They play, they help each other, they show signs of what we call empathy. But 70% of the animals we farm live inside factories. In the United States, that number is 99%. Their lives are short and terrible,” Thunberg said.
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