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News at Brighter Green

Brighter Green's film What's For Dinner? to be featured in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 3/21/14

Brighter Green's short film What's For Dinner? was recently selected to appear in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It appeared on March 19th at 12PM in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, along with a discussion partnering with the China Environment Forum.

Associate Sangamithra Iyer Publishes eBook 3/5/14

Brighter Green Associate Sangamithra Iyer publishes an eBook entitled The Lines We Draw distributed by Hen Press, the publishing arm of Our Hen House. The book explores the boundaries — physical, biological, and ethical — evolved out of a conversation with the late Dr. Alfred Prince, a hepatitis researcher, about the use of chimpanzees in medical research, and is expanded into a larger discussion about ethics.

Brighter Green Releases New Policy Paper on Industrialized Dairy in Asia 2/20/14

Brighter Green releases their newest policy paper Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia exploring the trend toward increased dairy consumption and production in Asia and argues that the growth of industrial systems results in severe consequences for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies. You may access the paper here.

Brighter Green Presents at the Ivy League Vegan Conference 2/7/14

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald and Associate Sangamithra Iyer present a session entitled "The Global Diet & Sustainability: Multi-country Perspectives" at the Ivy League Vegan Conference at Princeton University. The conference is in its third year and is dedicated to exploring veganism and bioethics.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Launches Chinese Website 1/1/14

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? launches Chinese website. This will increase awareness of the issues raised in What's For Dinner? and allow individuals in China to learn more about the film.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Signs Distribution Deal 12/20/13

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? signs with Icarus Films, a well known
independent film distributor, to help ensure that What's For Dinner? is screened widely.

Brighter Green End-of-Year Newsletter 12/19/13

Take a look at our most recent Brighter Green newsletter where we announce some of our recent accomplishments as well as what we have planned for 2014. You can read the newsletter here.

Executive Director Mia MacDonald on Katerva Awards Panel 12/6/13

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald participated on the Food Security Impact panel as a part of the Katerva Awards.

At COP 19, Global Landscapes Forum Calls for Change 11/27/13

COP 19's Global Landscapes Forum, where Brighter Green co-sponsored a side event, released a statement calling for a new approach to tackling climate change, food insecurity, and poverty saying that "fragmentation is our enemy". The statement calls for the need to "work together across landscapes".

Brighter Green Submits Policy Recommendations at Global Landscapes Forum 11/18/13

Brighter Green submits policy recommendations with Global Forest Coalition after the networking panel session "Land, landscapes, livestock, and farms". For more information please read about Brighter Green's involvement in COP 19 here.

Brighter Green in Outreach Magazine at COP 19 11/15/13

Brighter Green publishes an article entitled "Industrial animal agriculture: acknowledging industrial livestock production as a driver of forest loss" in Outreach, a multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development distributed at COP 19. The article is based on a project addressing livestock production as a driver of deforestation between Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition.

Brighter Green Cosponsors a Panel at the Global Landscapes Forum at COP 19 11/14/13

Brighter Green is cosponsoring a panel at the Global Landscapes Forum in Warsaw at COP 19. The forum, with exhibitions and panels, will focus on environmental change and development, linking farming, forestry, and other land uses. Geoffrey Evans from Humane Society International [HSI] will be speaking for Brighter Green, HSI, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals. The forum will take place from November 16-17, 2013 in Warsaw.

Brighter Green Produces Policy Document with Human Society International and the World Society for the Protection of Animals 11/11/13

Brighter Green, Humane Society International, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, produced a policy document making a case for why the Conference of Parties (COP 19) should address animal agriculture and the global climate crisis. The document will be distributed at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland from November 11-22, 2013.

BG and the Global Forest Coalition Expand Biodiversity Laws in Joint Paper 10/28/13

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition expand biodiversity laws on their joint paper: Industrial Agriculture, Livestock Farming, and Climate Change: Global Social, Cultural, Ecological, and Ethical Impacts of an Unsustainable Industry.

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China's Meat-y Present...and the Global Future?

November 13, 2012 12:00pm

Pigs in China

In the last two decades China has been transformed from a predominantly vegetarian society to a society that is responsible for consumption of one-fourth of the world’s meat supply. This transformation is the result of several factors, including China’s rising discretionary income, the global food trade, meat’s long held status of social elitism, and the rapid spread of Western-style fast food, including McDonald’s locations.

But as a result, China is facing a huge challenge. It's one that's unlikely to be on the agenda this week as China's once-in-a-decade leadership transition takes place. It lacks the physical space required to sustain a high meat diet. China’s per capita volume of arable land is the lowest in the world, at only fourteen percent, and the amount of land needed to produce the grain to sustain a meat-based diet is three to seven times higher than the land needed to sustain a plant-based diet.

China, although traditionally self-sufficient in food despite its huge population, the world's largest, has turned to feed and meat imports for the first time in decades. This comes at a high cost, however, as China’s dependence on foreign imports contribute to price spikes for commodities like corn and soy.*

Furthermore, China has turned to increasingly controversial global land deals to overcome its lack of arable cropland and to meet domestic demand for livestock feed. The country is eyeing new sources for feed across the globe, recently forming an agreement with Ukraine’s largest agri-business. And the former head of China’s Tyson Meats suggests China look to the fallow lands of the United States and Brazil as viable prospects for land for feed growth.

Scientists note that this strained demand for animal products and the required cropland is a path to global crises. Chinese agricultural expert and dean of Renmin Agricultural University, Wen Tiejun, asserts, “It’s not possible to feed everyone so much meat.” A recent Stockhold International Water Institute report warns that a worldwide predominantly vegan diet must be reached by 2050 to curb global food and water shortage crises. These are only two examples of many.

Agribusiness has spoken and experts have spoken, but who will the world listen to? As the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization projects a significant rise in meat consumption by seventy-three percent in the next forty years, will policy-makers heed expert warnings and overturn this projection, or is China’s current path a forecast for what’s to come the world over?

*See Brighter Green’s former blog to understand the link between feed supply and food price spikes.

Photo courtesy Xie Zheng