Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of AsapSCIENCE explore the what might happen if event of every single person in the entire world became a vegetarian and how that global decision would affect the entire Earth.
In a world 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 kilometers of land are used for pasture, an area about the size of Africa 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 forest, 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 or going up.