Internal Assessment Environmental Systems and Societies
Research Question: Does a relationship between meat consumption and ecological footprint exist?
Aim: To study and investigate the relationship between meat consumption and the ecological
footprint of an average student in the Tigre school community in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Evaluate
and create possible solutions to reduce footprint while maintaining meat on diet.
Background and engagement:
“the amount of the environment necessary to produce the goods and services necessary to support a
particular lifestyle.” (World Wide Fund for Nature)I chose this topic because I find it interesting and
disturbing to realize how each different person utilizes resources and how we are using the Earth at a
higher capacity than what it can sustain. Meat is an essential item in Argentina’s culture, from the
19th century to present day, meat is embedded in the culture. But it comes at a high cost as
greenhouse emissions from cattle and agricultural production make up 16% of the total world
emissions (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2014)
Nowadays, humans consume more natural resources than available, will lead in the future to the
extinction of species and it puts in danger our modern way of living, as it depends on fossil fuels and
other variables. Each person has to help the way they can so that we don’t compromise the planet we
live in for us and for the future generations that will inherit Earth.
As worldwide populations explode so does the demand for meat products in the global scenario, and it
is not improving. By 2050, it is expected that the global population will reach a staggering 10 billion
(The Guardian, 2018) Humanity is at a point of no return and it will require a massive, worldwide
effort to limit the permanent changes that human-driven climate change will cause. “Every year
people demand more from nature than it can regenerate” Global Footprint Network. “The steady
growth of global meat production comes at considerable cost” (Worldwatch Institute, 2019). To feed
so many individuals sustainably will require a deep change in our diet, cutting out meats and
increasing legumes and beans (Deutsche Welle).
The production of meat requires much more resources of all kinds as livestock requires energy from
previously cultivated crops, which in turn require water and more energy to grow. As the energy
flows from the crops into the cattle which needs energy for growth, energy is lost in form of
respiration, making meat extremely energy inefficient “you need about 15,000 litres of water to
produce a kilo of beef but only 1,250 litres for a kilo of maize or wheat” (The Economist)
Following the exit of the United States of America, the world's biggest economy, from the Paris
Climate Agreement, an agreement to limit the effect of global warming to 2°C, signed by 195
countries (European Commission) As time is running out, viable options for controlling the planets