A: It will adopt the eating habits of Americans—specifically, our pork-eating habits. Already, China (which essayist Charles Lamb credited with being the birthplace of pork barbecue) consumes about half of all pork produced worldwide. According to a 2010 U.S. Department of Agriculture report, Chinese pork consumption jumped from 22 million tons in 1990 to more than 50 million tons in 2009—and it is only expected to grow.
How will this destroy the world? China doesn’t have enough land to grow all the corn that’s required to feed the increasing number of pigs who will in turn be needed to feed the country’s growing mu shu pork habit. This means that China will go from importing no corn in 2008 to 15 million metric tons by 2014, according to one industry estimate. Much of that corn is expected to be grown in South America, where pristine savannahs and grasslands will be converted into cornfields. Not only will the razing of these grasslands release greenhouse gasses, the nitrogen fertilizers that will be used to grow the corn will release even more. And then there’s all the energy that’s used to raise and harvest the corn and ship it halfway around the world.
Nor does China have enough land to continue to raise pigs on small farms, which means that it will start converting its family farms to hugely polluting factory farms as well as importing more meat from such models of agricultural responsibility as Smithfield and Hormel.
All this adds up to an environmental headache bigger than the Great Wall of, well, you know where.
But all is not lost. PETA Asia and its army of Lettuce Ladies are feverishly trying to turn the tide by persuading Asians to eat green (in more ways than one). Will the leafy lovelies be able to save our planet in time? Stay tuned to this bat channel to find out.
Written by Alisa Mullins