America: Home of the Yankees, Mount Rushmore, the Great Lakes and a staggering consumption of, well, lots of things.

Did you know, for example, that Americans are the top consumers of meat in the world? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we come in at 185 pounds per person of the stuff annually. The same 2011 study showed that we also ate a hearty 630 pounds of dairy, and of that, we dedicated 31 pounds solely to cheese like a song on the radio to that girl who copies your homework before algebra.

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Then why don’t you marry it, you freak.

If Everyone Ate Like Americans, Here's What Would Happen to the WorldSecond City Hockey

What can we say? We like what we like. It’s just that what we like has this nasty ofhabit of trashing the planet. Producing all of those animal products is pretty labor intensive, and by pretty, we mean it’s one the most resource-intensive industries on earth. It uses an incredibly disproportionate amount of water to produce a relatively small amount of food, takes up an amazing amount of land and The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organizations like the Worldwatch Institute have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent.

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So, what if everyone else on the planet followed our lead? What if global tastes shifted to the American way of eating and the whole world started tweeting pics of bacon with urbane and sophisticated captions like, “Ermagerd, berken?” What if the planet needed to come up with the resources to sustain not just all of us (humans are supposed to reach a population of nine billion by 2050), but the livestock we’d need to satisfy everyone’s taste for beef, bacon, eggs, and cheese?

So, what if everyone else on the planet followed our lead? What if global tastes shifted to the American way of eating and the whole world started tweeting pics of bacon with urbane and sophisticated captions like, “Ermagerd, berken?” What if the planet needed to come up with the resources to sustain not just all of us (humans are supposed to reach a population of nine billion by 2050), but the livestock we’d need to satisfy everyone’s taste for beef, bacon, eggs, and cheese?

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We’d need to come up with an alternative to water

It takes a while for evolution to take care of a species’ changing needs, so it might take some doing, but somehow we either need to invent a way to produce water out of nothing or evolve to be able to survive on sand.

Record droughts have caused groundwater depletion to happen at an alarming rate for agriculture – depletion that could take hundreds of years to replenish. Agricultural water is used to irrigate crops as well as in the process of livestock production. Who are the top users? Alfalfa, which is grown to feed livestock (particularly dairy cows who consume 70 percent of the alfalfa grown) and beef, which takes 1,899 gallons to produce just one pound for consumption.

If Everyone Ate Like Americans, Here's What Would Happen to the World
 

 

We’d all need to shack up with a cow or two

Livestock currently take up 26 percent of the habitable land on the planet that isn’t covered by ice. That’s a whole lot of cows and we’re still only talking about the amount used to satisfy current global demand. If everyone decided to up their meat game to the 71 pounds per year average that Americans currently toss back, we’d have a bit of a squeeze on our hands when it came to housing. Is there a roommate finding service currently in place for cows? Would that be “Moo” mate finder?

If Everyone Ate Like Americans, Here's What Would Happen to the WorldLife With Dogs

Get used to saying, “Remember that time when we had animals?”

Climate change is a large driving force behind the dwindling numbers of many animal species, including polar bears, koalas and amphibians to name just a few. Seeing as how animal agriculture is already churning out more than half of the greenhouse gasses we get to live with now, if everyone ate the unsustainable diets that Americans do, we’d see mass extinctions of animals pretty rapidly. Oh and, yes, if they go we eventually go too. Just sayin.

If Everyone Ate Like Americans, Here's What Would Happen to the WorldAmarudon TV

 

It’s pretty clear that the world can’t subsist on an American diet without massive environmental consequences. Hey, to be fair, America can’t subsist on an American diet without massive environmental consequences. The time is NOW to start eating for the planet, to cut back on the unsustainable foods like meat and dairy in an effort to turn back the clock on the destruction they’ve caused.

Lead image source: Wall Street Journal