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  • Chances are you or someone you know is a vegetarian, so we thought we’d try a thought experiment.


  • What would happen if everyone in the world was suddenly a vegetarian?


  • What effect would it have on our lives and the planet?


  • Before we begin, full disclosure: None of us at AsapSCIENCE are vegetarians.

    在我們開始之前,要事先宣告:我們 AsapSCIENCE 團隊的所有人都不吃素。

  • And the worldwide rate of vegetarianism is fairly low, ranging from about 4-5% in the US and Canada to a little over 30% in India.

    而且世界上的素食者比例相當低,範圍從美國和加拿大的約占 4─5% 到印度的約略超過 30% 。

  • As a result, there are currently about 20 billion chickens, 1.5 billion cows, over a billion sheep and nearly a billion pigs in the world.

    因此,世界上大約有 200 億隻雞、15 億頭牛,超過 10 億隻羊以及將近 10 億頭豬。

  • Without any meat-eating humans to provide a market, whole herds of domestic animals would disappear.


  • And this would free up vast quantities of land.


  • About 33 million square kilometres of land are used for pasture - an area about the size of Africa.

    大約三千三百萬平方公尺的土地是被用來放牧的 ─ 這相當於一個非洲的大小。

  • And that’s not even counting the land used to grow crops exclusively for animal feed.


  • Some of it would be needed for the increased amount of vegetable crops, but much of the land currently used as pasture is actually too dry to grow crops.


  • Without humans adding artificial nutrients, this land could turn to desert,


  • but if properly managed, it’s possible that some farmland would return to its natural state of grassland or forests, which could help counteract global climate change.


  • After all, the loss of CO2-absorbing trees cleared for agriculture is a major reason why global levels of CO2 are going up.

    畢竟為了農業而清除掉能吸收二氧化碳的樹,才是全球 CO2 含量升高的主要原因。

  • Cows and other grazers also affect our climate through large amounts of methane production, which has 25 times more potential planet-warming power than CO2.

    牛和其他草食動物製造的大量甲浣也影響著我們的氣候,這些甲浣造成的潛在全球暖化力是二氧化碳的 25 倍。

  • Combined with the loss of forests and other effects, livestock production is responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions,

    結合森林的損失及其它影響,全球溫室氣體排放量的 15% 是家畜需要負責的,及其它影響,全球溫室氣體排放量的 15% 是家畜需要負責的,

  • which is more than all the world’s planes, trains and automobiles put together.


  • In fact, many scientists believe that reducing meat consumption may be one of the best strategies for managing climate change.


  • A vegetarian diet would also greatly reduce water consumption; around 70% of global freshwater consumption is used in agriculture.

    素的飲食也會大大的減少水的消耗量;全球有 70% 的淡水被消耗在農業。

  • It takes 15,000 litres to make a kilogram of beef, 6,000 L for pork and 4,000 L for chicken - Compare this with 1,600 L for cereal crops, 900 L for fruit and 300 L for garden vegetables.

    其中,每製造一公斤的牛肉,就要用掉 15000 公升的水;每製造一公斤的豬肉,就要用掉 6000 公升的水,而製造相同重量的雞肉,也要耗費 4000 公升的水─和製造一公斤的作物相較,穀類只要 1600 公升的水,水果只要 900 公升,而菜園裡的菜也只需 300 公升。

  • Of course, a kilogram of meat packs many more calories than the equivalent weight of fruit,


  • but even if you compare the ratio of water per calorie of available food energy,


  • beef is still 5 times more water intensive than fruit, 7 times more than veggies and 20 times more than cereal.

    製造牛肉仍比製造水果增加了 5 倍的水量比製造蔬菜多了 7 倍的水量,以及比製造穀物多了 20 倍的水量 。

  • So are there any downsides to a vegetarian diet?


  • Well, we’d be left without a cheap source for many byproducts of livestock, like leather from animal hides, or animal fats which are used in cosmetics, candles and detergents.


  • And while vegetable based alternatives do exist, their production would need to increase, meaning more land dedicated to growing crops and less restored to its natural state.


  • A more complicated fact is that raising and processing animals is a full-time job for more than 1 billion people - most of whom are small-scale farmers in the developing world.

    更複雜的一個因素是因為全球超過 10 億人口是以飼養動物和加工動物產品做為全職 ─ 他們大部分都是發展中世界的小規模農場主。

  • While some may be able to move to producing milk or eggs, or even growing vegetable crops, many would be faced with their way of life becoming obsolete.


  • Of course, any increase in vegetarianism is likely to be a gradual process rather than a sudden cut-off.


  • And, surprisingly, the trends are actually in the opposite direction.


  • In places like India and China, people are becoming wealthier, and as a result, consuming more meat which effectively cancels out the declines we see in other countries.


  • So, we actually tried to go vegetarian for 21 days straight as an experiment in our new AsapTHOUGHT episode.

    所以,我們在新的 AsapTHOUGHT 的一集中嘗試實驗吃素 21 天

  • Check out the video if you want to see how it went, what we learned in the process and how we felt about it both mentally and physically!


  • And subscribe for more weekly science videos!


Chances are you or someone you know is a vegetarian, so we thought we’d try a thought experiment.


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