With an increasing world population and global wealth, sustaining increasing human consumption is a big challenge we face. In the future all our resources on “Spaceship Earth” will need to be mined, farmed and used much more carefully and efficiently.
Today large scale farming for meat and leather is increasingly contaminating our environment and our bodies.
80% of US greenhouse gas emissions come from meat production.
70% of antibiotics in the US are used to treat livestock.
Large scale farming is also very resource intensive.
6000 Liters of water are used to produce only half a kilo of meat.
70% of US arable land is used to grow crops which feed livestock.
Meat and leather cell culture has the potential to be another significant disruptive technology. A cost effective and less contaminating creation of meat and leather.
“cultured meat expends 7-45 percent less energy than conventional farming methods; produces 78-96 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions; uses 99 percent less land; and requires 82-96 percent less water, depending on the meat types they compared” – Life cycle assessment of cultured meat production
Not long ago I wrote a post on 3D Printed Leather which you can read HERE
Behind the drive of cultured animal cell for large scale industrial uses are some very influential people and innovators, such as Sergey Brin co-founder of Google who has recently also been making waves with other disruptive innovations such as Google Glass and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Such powerful backing will undoubtedly bring about cultured cell meat and leather sooner than later.
However I would argue that although this vision seems well suited to an urban environment. I think that in rural and poorer communities it will be important to continue encouraging traditional methods of meat and leather processing to support a small local economy with a different culture and decentralized infrastructure.
Besides Nature also shows us that diversity is very important and we should not lose sight of this.
Biological Engineer Gabor Forgacs introduces the principles of cultured leather.