字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 This video is sponsored by Brilliant. If you stick around until the end I'll give you a link for 20% off an annual premium membership. A hamburger and fries. The quintessential fast food meal. And nowhere else in the world is this combo more readily available, and more iconic, than at McDonald's. The fast-food chain has essentially conquered every part of the world with its golden arches. Second only to Subway in terms of numbers of locations, the McDonald's brand spans over 100 countries with a total of 38,000 stores. From Guantanamo Bay to Kansas City, Mcdonald's seems to have grown exponentially since its inception in 1948, a success which many attribute to their low-prices and iconic menu items. With the rise of this global franchise has also come staunch critiques of McDonald's business practices revealing the brand's exploitation of workers and shattering of local food systems with highly machined food. Today, however, I want to focus on the hidden environmental costs of McDonald's, in order to understand just one aspect of how McDonald's is able to simultaneously keep their prices so low and grow their empire. Loaded with two beef patties, shredded lettuce, secret sauce, and even a bun in the middle for extra support, the Big Mac is the iconic McDonald's burger. It's not only the epitome of McDonald's offerings; it is also a perfect example of how McDonald's and its suppliers use and abuse the environment to make their food. So let's briefly follow the Big Mac from calf to mouth to understand just how much Mcdonald's is impacting the environment. The typical McDonald's beef patty starts as a calf raised on one of over 700,000 cattle ranches in the United States. For 8 to 12 months these cows are set to graze on grasslands, hay, or other available feed. And for the calf to grow it needs space. It's estimated that grazing operations require 26% percent of the earth's habitable areas. After the cow reaches 600 pounds in weight it's then shipped off to one of the 20,382 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs for short, in the United States to fatten it up before slaughter. I did a deep dive into the terrible environmental and physical conditions of CAFOs in my video about plant-based meats, but here's a quick summary: feedlots pack thousands of cattle into confined spaces and then pump them full of corn, soybeans, and antibiotics all so cows can gain 600-900 pounds in 90-100 days. More like a factory than a farm, these CAFOs pollute the air and water with particulate matter, hydrogen sulfide, and high levels of nitrates. And the cow manure build-up from CAFOs is extensive, releasing nitrous oxide which has 300 times the global warming effect of C02. In all, livestock is estimated to cause between 14.5 to 18% of the world's annual greenhouse gas emissions, consume ⅓ of the world's yearly grain production, and drink 16% of the global freshwater supply. So, even before the beef is minced, packed, and frozen into its circular shape, hamburger patties destined for a Big Mac have devastating consequences on the environment. And McDonald's has been at the frontlines of this shift in animal agriculture from quality to quantity. In 2010, McDonald's senior director of U.S. food and packaging, John Hayes said that they use 1 billion pounds of beef every year just in the U.S. And as McDonald's continues to grow, so too does that number. But to keep the cost of that much meat low enough to serve their burgers at fast-food prices, McDonald's needs exploitative farming practices like CAFOs. By dumping the environmental cost onto its surroundings, these feedlots can churn through cows and satisfy the massive demand from McDonald's for cheap. If beef, the staple in McDonald's burger heavy menu, is such a burden on the environment, why don't they offer some sort of the plant-based alternative? That's a great question, and honestly, McDonald's has given some pretty unsatisfactory answers. In a wave of conversions, Burger King, A&W, and White Castle all have added some form of plant-based burger to their menu, but McDonald's has been slow to act and has yet to do the same in the U.S. which hosts the majority of their stores. The CEO of McDonald's, Steve Easterbrook, says that they're hesitant about adding a plant-based burger to their menu because it creates complexity: “We know there's complexity. The question is will the demands make it worth absorbing the complexity because it will drive the business.” So like almost all for-profit companies, McDonald's will only consider the environmental consequences of their food if it's good for their bottom line. We can see this mindset in their collaboration with Ford to divert the 62 million pounds of coffee chaff that would usually go to the landfill into durable, lightweight car parts. A move that will definitely eliminate a large amount of food waste, which is awesome. But it also might bring McDonald's more business from coffee drinkers looking for a sustainable option. Mcdonald's have also worked to transition their packaging from styrofoam and plastic towards biodegradable and recyclable products. But of course, these transitions are not without faults. McDonald's switch from plastic straws drew sharp backlash from the disabled community for being ableist, as well as from some of the environmental community who claimed that the new paper straws weren't even recyclable. And in some cases, like in the European Union where single-use plastics will be banned in 2021, this is less of an act of goodwill, than a response to regulation. So, while McDonald's has instituted some effective environmental initiatives, we should also note that McDonald's has the power and ability to do so much more. They have the opportunity to be a sustainability trailblazer, and yet they seem to simply be following in the footsteps of others. Yes, they have announced some emissions reduction targets but they are conservative and lack actionable steps. On their website, the company asserts that they “will partner with Franchisees to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald's restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030” and also “through collaboration and partnership with our suppliers and producers, the Company also commits to a 31% reduction in emissions intensity… across [their] supply chain by 2030.” This is a great first step, and their waste-diversion of coffee chaff demonstrates some amount of effort to reach these goals, but a few sentences about how they're going to work across their supply chain and franchises to implement low-carbon solutions seems more like marketing fluff than substantial plans. McDonald's can definitely be more aggressive in its climate action. There are companies its size like IKEA pursuing much more drastic targets. But instead, it seems as if McDonald's has to be dragged kicking and screaming towards a better environmental stance. Indeed, a group of investors worth $6.5 trillion recently called on McDonald's and five other fast-food chains to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and water usage of their meat and dairy suppliers. One of the investors, Jeremy Coller, notes that “other high-emitting industries are beginning to set clear yet ambitious climate targets, making animal agriculture one of the world's highest-emitting sectors without a low-carbon plan.” It's this type of pressure then, not necessarily environmental damage or climate change that seems to get McDonald's to make sustainable changes. At the end of the day, McDonald's exists within, and in many ways has co-created, an industrial food system that externalizes all sorts of environmental, social and physical costs onto its communities. Refusing to eat at McDonald's is certainly a way to use individual action to influence change, but for many, McDonald's offers a cheap and convenient way to consume food. As professor of food and nutrition policy at Virginia Tech, Vivica Kraak, argues, “It's not people's fault… The environments they live in foster overconsumption and unsustainable choices." So, we must also address the food system that has been forged on the griddles of fast food companies through a dual-pronged structural approach. We need to be supplying people with healthy, delicious, ethical, and sustainable food options by supporting smaller farmers and ethical food operations--something that McDonalds just isn't doing, all the while simultaneously working through regulatory channels--in much the same way the European Union did by banning single-use plastic--to shape McDonald's into a more ethical and sustainable food source. But the fact of the matter is that for over 50 years, McDonald's, alongside its fast-food competitors, has fostered a supply chain and food system hell-bent on creating food that casts aside the environment, animal welfare, and community well-being to expand profit margins. Change from within McDonald's is important, but its roots are rotten. McDonald's very existence and its profitability rely heavily on our current food system. So don't expect it to do anything drastic soon. Only outside pressure from us, together, can make that change. Okay, I'll admit it, building a better, more sustainable food system is an extremely complex task. It's going to take problem solvers from all sorts of backgrounds to foster the kind of quick transition from old to new that we need. But Luckily, Brilliant is already teaching this next generation of problem solvers through an amazing selection of online courses that use interactive puzzles to hone critical, mathematical, and scientific thinking skills. And the best part is, you can learn these skills from the comfort of your own home. Brilliant is a course-based website and app that lets you explore the realms of math and science through storytelling, interactive explorations, and daily challenges. Which is exactly what you'll get when you dive into their Calculus in a Nutshell course. Using visual and physical intuition to present the major pillars of calculus, Brilliant guides you through the intricacies of calculus: an essential tool for aspiring ecologists and urban planners alike. Ultimately, if you're like me and are curious about how the world works or just want to build your problem-solving skills, then I'd highly recommend getting Brilliant Premium to learn something new every day. So, if you want to start developing your analytical abilities and build a brighter future, go to brilliant dot org slash OCC, or click the link in the description, and sign up for free. As a bonus, the first 200 people that go to that link will get 20% off their annual premium membership. Hey everyone, Charlie here. This video is, as always, brought to you in part by my Patreon supporters! If you're trying to find a way to help make sure this channel continues making videos, supporting me on Patreon is a great way to do that. Your support gives me the financial stability I need to continue to do my videowork. Thanks for watching, and I will see you in two weeks.