Post Second World War, the world faced the precipice with a looming catastrophe of a planet unable to produce enough food for its fast-growing population. The answer came in the promise of the Green Revolution: a business-led transformation to more efficient methods of agriculture, promising plenty for all. But from the beginning, it provided a monumental example of the law on unintended consequences.
First came the glut: The new methods were so successful, they swiftly produced a vast supply of cereals in the U.S., forcing down prices and threatening countless economies world-wide. Then came easy access to antibiotics, allowing mega-farms to confine ever-larger numbers of animals in ever-more-crowded areas, sustained on a diet of crops that could have been more efficiently fed to humans.
The industrialisation of meat production was born in the “animal revolution”, and the abundance made possible by the Green Revolution was squandered in meat production. Far from ending food shortages, industrial agriculture now exacerbates them. Because instead of being used to feed 345 million people facing crisis levels of food insecurity, most of the enormous surpluses the Green Revolution helped generate are used to feed the 70 billion animals that end up as food for humans each year.
Across the world, 77% of agricultural land is now given over to animal production, including crops for feeding them. Yet it produces just 18% of the global supply of calories for humans. We’re using more than three-quarters of our resources to produce less than one-fifth of our output. The numbers just don’t add up. And that’s before you consider the fact that intensive agriculture accounts for almost 15% of greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity, is the biggest driver of deforestation as seen in the Amazon, is one of the biggest consumers of fresh water and antibiotics and, as we’ve seen post Covid pandemic and avian flu, is fuelling the risk of further deadly pandemic.
The Green Revolution v2 will need society to be more pragmatic taking on board the need for dramatic change in not just what we eat but how we use scarce resource. If mankind switched to a plant-based diet, reduced the use of artificial fertilisers, reduced our reliance on generating artificial chemicals in everything from scents to cleaning agents, and avoided the over use of antibiotics, there is an opportunity to shift the paradigm for the future of our plant and the human species. Being Vegan and consuming organic products provides a more sustainable route towards our future.
Wild4Men continues to produce men’s personal care products only using plant-derived organic oils which supports the ethos of a Green Revolution v2.