Just Food Index

This Index provides some facts that may help us think through substance together.

Just Food Index[1]

 

Number of people on earth today: almost 7 billion

 

Number of people who will live on earth in 2050: 9.5 – 10 billion

 

Percentage increase of food needed to feed the world in 2050: 60

 

Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, and biocides added to the environment each year, in pounds: 5-6 billion

 

Gallons of gasoline required to make enough fertilizer for one acre of conventionally grown corn: 30

 

Percent of global warming gas emissions from all transportation worldwide: 13.5

 

Percent of global warming gas emissions from livestock: 18

 

Amount of antibiotics fed to cows each year: 25 million pounds

 

Calories of fossil fuels required to produce one food calorie of grain: 0.4–0.7

 

Calories of fossil fuels required to produce one food calorie of free-range beef: 3

 

Calories of fossil fuels required to produce one calorie of conventionally-raised beef: 33

 

Pounds of grain required to make one pound of beef: 16

 

Number of cattle currently on earth: 1.3 billion

 

Number of chickens raised and slaughtered each year, worldwide: 45 billion

 

Percentage more land than the earth has that would be required if everyone ate as much meat as Americans do: 67

 

Percentage of U.S. grain used for animal feed: 80

 

Amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the production of nitrogen fertilizers: 41 million metric tons

 

Percentage of the earth’s dry land area currently being occupied by cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens: 66

 

Percentage of soil erosion in the United States which is caused by cattle: 85

 

Amount of water required to make a hamburger: 2,400 liters

 

Factor by which methane is more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide: 21-24 times

 

Amount of methane emitted by livestock each year: 86 million metric tons

 

Percentage of fish caught by commercial fishing that is by-catch (thrown back, dead): 85-95

 

Amount of edible grass-fed beef flesh produced per acre of land in a year: 75 pounds

 

Amount of edible fish flesh produced per acre of land in a year using aquaponics: 35,000 pounds

 

Gallons of ocean water a bed of farmed oysters can filter and clean each day: 100 million

 

Corn subsidies that go to the top 10 percent of U.S. corn producers: 71 percent

 

 

 



[1] James E. McWilliams, Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (New York: Back Bay Press, 2009),  Appendix.

Last modified: Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 8:49 AM