Clean Meat: The Clean Energy of Food | Paul Shapiro | TEDxSouthLakeTahoe


Translator: Michele Gianella
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven Less than 200 years ago,
this is how most Americans lit our homes. For centuries, harpoons like this one were hurled into the backs
of thousands of whales, turning the blue oceans red as these magnificent beasts
were butchered. The primary problem for these whales was that their bodies
contained vast quantities of oil, perfect for burning in lamps and spawning a massive
global whaling empire. And no nation was as obsessed
with whaling as America. New Bedford, MA, became known
as “The city that lights the world,” and there were
enormous fortunes to be made from whaling the seas. Across the globe, these types of harpoons
became synonymous with lighting our homes. The whalers were so ruthlessly efficient that they inflicted a serious toll
on whale populations around the world, leading many within their industry to worry about the sustainability
of their endeavors. There were even early environmentalists who pleaded in 19th-century newspapers
to “Save the whales!” Well, today, the United States,
including New Bedford, still has a large number of boats
used solely to seek out and shoot whales. Though now, the shooting
is done with cameras. And about the only place you’re likely to even find
a harpoon like this one is in a museum. Today, we are a leader not in whale killing,
but in whale watching. So, how did an industry so powerful fall from such great heights
to total irrelevance? Turns out that right about the same time
that Abraham Lincoln was saving the Union, Abraham Gesner was saving the whales. Was Gesner a crusading environmentalist? No. He was a Canadian geologist who had patented and was just in
the process of commercializing kerosene, offering a cleaner, more efficient way
to light our homes. In fact, kerosene was such
a superior alternative to whale oil that within 30 years
of Gesner’s patenting of it, it had decimated America’s whaling fleet,
shrinking it by 95 percent, rendering harpoons like this one
mere relics of a bygone era. What lessons might this story
offer us today? Turns out, quite a few. Today, one of our great
sustainability problems is, yet again, related
to our exploitation of animals. Though this time around, the problem isn’t
that we have too few whales; rather, we’ve created
too many chickens, pigs, and cows. You see, raising animals for food is at the heart of so many
of our environmental ills that plague our world today. The United Nations reports that animal agriculture contributes
more greenhouse gas emissions than all of our cars, trucks,
boats, and planes combined. It’s also a leading cause
of rainforest destruction, air, water, and soil degradation; and on top of all that, it’s just a grossly inefficient way
to produce our food. To put the problem in perspective, imagine walking down the poultry aisle
of your local supermarket. Now envision one chicken
you’re thinking about buying, and right next to it,
there’s a one-gallon plastic jug of water. Unscrew that jug, and dump the entire gallon
out onto the floor. And now, do that a thousand more times. That’s about how much water it takes to bring one single chicken
from shell to shelf, vastly more than it takes to produce similar amounts
of plant-based protein. In other words, you would save more water by skipping a single
chicken dinner for your family, than by skipping six months of showers. The problem is so bad that the Center for Biological Diversity’s
number one recommendation for giving wildlife
a fighting chance on our planet is a simple three-word slogan. They say, “Eat less meat.” The problem is, most of the world
just isn’t following that advice. Meat consumption
is on the rise, globally, with nations like China
and India and Brazil aspiring to eat more like Americans do – that is a diet heavy
in meat, eggs, and dairy. With our population projected to swell
by billions more by 2050, the situation is looking pretty dire. Our planet just isn’t big enough to sustain billions more consumers
with a meat-centric diet. The change in climate will be too great,
the deforestation too severe, the water use too draining, and the toll on the farm animals
themselves is a serious concern too. But … what if we were able
to have our meat and eat it too? What if there were
a technological innovation that, just like kerosene allowed us to light our homes
without slaughtering whales, would allow people to eat
the meat that so many crave without having to raise
and slaughter animals? It turns out that some entrepreneurs
are now doing exactly that. Today, we are witnessing
the very beginning of an incredible revolution:
a clean meat revolution. If the problem is too many farm animals, the solution may lie
within those animals themselves, within their very cells. In order to feed a growing population, rather than going big,
with animal agriculture, some are now starting to go small,
with cellular agriculture, the process of growing foods like real animal meats
and other animal products, directly from cells
rather than from slaughter. To be sure, this is not an alternative
or a substitute to meat. We are talking about actual animal meats,
simply grown without the animal. It may sound like science fiction,
but indeed, it is now science fact. Simply by taking a sesame-seed-sized
biopsy from a chicken, you can grow real
chicken nuggets from those cells and eat them in front
of that very chicken while he pecks around
in the grass by your feet, alive and well. (Laughter) Something one startup
working in this space, Hampton Creek, has already done. Other entrepreneurs,
like those at a startup called Geltor, are simply ditching the initial
animal starter cells altogether and are just growing,
from the molecule up, real gelatin, real leather,
real milk, and real egg whites that are all essentially identical
to the products we know, except they never involved
a living creature. By applying what up until now
have been medical technologies to growing animal agricultural products, these entrepreneurs are bringing to us what Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO
of the clean meat startup “Memphis Meats,” calls the second domestication. In the first domestication,
thousands of years ago, our ancestors began breeding
wild animals and planting seeds, exerting more control
over how we produced our food. Today, we are taking that control
down to the cellular level. Whereas our ancestors domesticated
wild animals into livestock, today, we are beginning
to domesticate those animals’ cells. And from the single cell of a cow, you can grow enough beef
to feed an entire village. And the story of this coming
second domestication is anything but tame. In order to learn more
about this clean meat revolution, I traveled the world
to see and taste firsthand just what these innovators
and their investors are cooking up. And their ideas are hardly new. In 1931, Winston Churchill prophesized
that these innovators would come about. In an essay predicting what the world
might look like in 50 years, the future British Prime Minister suggested that we would abandon
the absurdity of raising entire animals when we could simply grow
the parts that we actually wanted. Sure, his timing may have been
a few decades off, but the revolution that he foresaw
is now in full swing, with startups – some of them backed
by billionaire investors like Bill Gates and Richard Branson
and even meat giants like Cargill – now racing to turn
Churchill’s vision into reality. And if they succeed,
the results could be astounding, as they would be producing
real animal products with staggeringly fewer
greenhouse gas emissions, less land, and less water. The term “Clean Meat” was popularized
by the nonprofit Good Food Institute and with good reason. Like clean energy, clean meat
is of course cleaner for the planet. But it is also literally just cleaner. Think about it: right now, we are warned to treat
raw meat in our kitchens almost like toxic waste. Why? Because it’s riddled with feces,
E.Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter. These are intestinal pathogens
that can sicken us if we don’t cook the crap
out of our meat, literally. (Laughter) But when we’re growing clean meat,
you don’t need intestines! You just grow the muscle
that you actually want. This lack of pathogenic bacteria
not only makes it safer to eat, but it also means that clean meat spoils at a much slower rate
than conventional meat does. These companies are bringing about
a food revolution that has so many food safety experts
so enthusiastic about it. Now look, I realize
it’s one thing for me to say that clean meat will deliver
all of the good qualities of meat and so many fewer of the bad. There’s a whole other question,
of course, which is that, Will people actually eat this? I mean, how does it even taste? Well, I’m proud to say that I may have eaten a greater variety
of clean animal products than perhaps any person on the planet. The first time I ever ate clean meat was in 2014. At that time, more humans
had gone into space than had ever eaten meat
grown outside of an animal. My host, Andras Forgacs
of the startup Modern Meadow, at that time was growing
what he called steak chips. Think about them like potato chips,
but made out of beef. He since has gone on
to focus his efforts solely on leather, but at that time, Andras
was taking single cells from a cow and growing these steak chips in his lab,
barbecuing them and dehydrating them, making them look kind of like
thin pieces of jerky. He surprised me
by very generously offering me a sample of one of his steak chips, and of course I accepted. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but when I put that
steak chip on my tongue, my mouth began watering. I chewed it, I told him that I liked it, and I got to admit,
I really wish that I had more. Since then, I’ve sampled
all types of clean animal products, from beef, duck, and fish
to liver and even yogurt. I realize what might
be going through your head, listening to this talk right now. You might be thinking,
alright Paul, this is all fine – maybe better for the planet,
maybe it’s safer – but come on: Growing an animal’s meat
outside of that animal’s body, isn’t that unnatural? Well, this may be a good time for us just to pause and take
a quick moment to consider how natural our current methods
of meat production are. Let’s just take chicken
as one sole example. Nearly all of the chicken
that we eat today in America comes from birds who languished
inside factory farms, where they lived in their own feces,
never felt the sun on their back, never stepped foot on a blade of grass, were pumped full of drugs
like antibiotics, were genetically selected
to grow so big, so fast that many of them couldn’t even take
more than a few steps before collapsing underneath
their own unnatural bulk. And when they were finally
taken to slaughter, well, let’s just say you’d rather
not hear about it. So when we consider just how unnatural,
unsustainable and inhumane many of our current methods
of meat production are, clean meat all of a sudden seems
like the naturally preferable choice. In some ways, it brings to mind
the natural ice industry of old. In the 19th century,
as whales were dodging harpoons, huge blocks of natural ice
were being dragged out of northern lakes to ship them all around the world
to warmer climates, where consumers didn’t have ice. Well, enter the advent
of industrial refrigeration, and all of a sudden, you had
a much more efficient way to produce ice, simply by cooling down
the local water right in front of you. Well, the natural ice industry was livid
over this technological innovation, railing against
the so-called artificial ice, warning consumers
that by using this artificial ice – it was unnatural and maybe even unsafe. Well, the irony at the time was that the artificial ice
was actually much safer because they were using water that was boiled or otherwise filtered
prior to freezing it whereas natural ice
was being harvested from lakes that were polluted
from the industrial revolution by horses who were
defecating in the very lakes from which they were taking this water. And today, nearly every single one of us
has an artificial ice maker in our homes – we call them freezers. We don’t think there’s
anything unnatural about it at all; in fact, you probably wouldn’t
even consider living without one. Now look, today we all
have freezers in our homes, but we don’t yet have access to clean meat
in the commercial marketplace. But that will change, and it will change within a matter
of mere years, not decades. And as we think about these changes
that these can bring to our lives, we have to start wondering: How might this change
the way that we live? Now, in the meantime,
we have to think about – We don’t have clean meat, but we do have numerous
other alternatives available to us. There’s many plant-based
meats for example, many of which really do taste and look
like the so-called “real thing.” I love those products, I eat them myself,
I hope you’ll eat them, and I expect the market for them
will continue to grow. But for the people who profess that they are wedded
to actual animal meat, might clean meat soon become a solution
for them to engage in the habit without causing so much damage
in the process? Just as we need clean energy
to compete against fossil fuels, clean meat can become
a competitor of factory farms. Yes, we should switch
to a more plant-based diet; eating less meat is a wonderful way to protect our planet
and to protect our health. Yet just as we need many
different types of clean energy, wind, solar, geothermal, and more, like plant-based meat, clean meat is a promising
alternative to factory farms that deserves our support. Because of the revolution that these clean meat
startups are brewing, we may soon be getting
a taste of that future that Winston Churchill envisioned. Is it possible that in that future, a factory farm may seem as archaic to us
as a whaling ship does in the present? Might a slaughterhouse knife one day appear as much of a relic
of a technologically primitive past as a whaling harpoon does to us today? I don’t think it’s that hard to imagine. And I, for one, am looking forward to tasting that cleaner, greener,
more sustainable, more humane future with each and every one of you. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Clean Meat: The Clean Energy of Food | Paul Shapiro | TEDxSouthLakeTahoe

  1. I can't wait for clean grown meat to start coming to stores. I just hope that it actually tastes as good as I've heard because if it sucks it'll be dead on arrival.

  2. This is a great alternative to the devastating industry that is animal agriculture. However, over-consumption of meat and dairy products is the leading cause of death in western society. "Eat Less Meat" is a slogan for our health as well as the planet and the animals we share it with.

  3. What a great talk! Loved the smart phrasing, the reasoning, great examples and great arguments. Thanks for a wonderful talk on a fascinating subject!!

  4. The future food will be clean, tasty and it will be grown in labs or bio-reactors.
    He is right, the industrial farming of animals is about to be disrupted by a more efficient process for meat production. Meat stocks will go down, if they do not invest into lab-meat.

  5. Lost me when he started to use green water in his analysis. Most water in water footprints is green water. What's green water? It's rain fall. This rain falls regardless of the product. In the case of chicken, it's primarily the amount of water to grow the feed that chicken eat. If chicken were fed farmed insects, the number would be irrelevant. Blue water is what's important, and bioreactors circulating nutrients and removing waste will require more blue water than all forms of meats.

  6. I’m very skeptical about this issue humans aren’t carnivores, we’re plant eaters. Heart decease is the number one killer more than cancer. What causes heart decease eating meat especially red meat, however all meats contribute. My feelings are that this kind of meat is chemically enhanced pretty much like gmo’s in plants which is linked to cancer the two killer. I’m vegan now for almost a year and I’ve slimmed down to a normal weight no more body aches and pains. I wasn’t sure I could do it however I educated myself by reading and asking questions to other vegans and vegetarians.

  7. May 11, 2018 Philanthropists: please help Paul Shapiro succeed in Clean Meat so that every dog and cat owner-guardian can buy it in any supermarket or pet food big box store TODAY!!! Government should fund this because it will clean up the Mississippi River (5 states depend on the water and it drains into the Gulf of Mexico, poisoning the fish industry). Purina and Pedigree are still poisoning and killing pets today, just watch the videos on You Tube of grieving pet owner-guardians. Monsanto's Round Up weed killer is probably partially responsible. Round Up is also making it unsafe to use tampons and sanitary pads, the cotton exposed to Round Up can cause toxic shock, which can cause limbs to be amputated.

  8. He glossed over or missed 2 extremely important reasons to produce clean meats. Antibiotic overuse and disease mutation.
    The next great plague to sweep the world may come from a disease that is strengthened by antibiotic overuse and jumps from livestock to human.

  9. Clean meat is great 👍🏻 and fantastic fabulous IDEA 💡 save animals and our plants 🌱 Our energy 👍🏻👏🌱I would love ❤️ to eat clean clean meat .great speach👏

  10. wow, as expected, let's target the emotions of the audience to push the point across. the problem is not all discussed, the problem is human greed. period.

  11. What this is NOT telling you is, this was started in 2013,,,5 yrs ago and they want it ON THE MARKET by 2020. They STILL haven't done research into the Health Effects of this on the human Body. Brain, Liver, Kidney, Heart, etc. What happens if we find out LATER that it's bad for us and WHO will take responsibility for the damage it may do to our Health? Remember, a Decade or so ago we were TOLD the High Fructose Corn Sweeteners were "A safe alternative to Sugar"..only to find out after it was put into just about EVERY food product we consumed It was NOT safe. Fatty liver Disease, Obesity and other SERIOUS health Problems have been linked to this product. So much so that soda and other food companies have switched BACK to sugar  secretly to protect against law suits. Will "Clean Meat" be just another product FORCED on us that will end up causing us to be sick, or maybe worse? Why no Human Testing? Why did the FDA approve this without first Testing it? Way too man questions and NO Answers are given. NOT GOOD. Oh and BTW, Bill Gate and Steve Branson are pushing this,,,they have ONE WORLD interests and also believe in World Population control. Let that sink in a minute. Question, do THEY eat this too. Or do they have the "do as I say and NOT as I do" approach. Just like Big Tech Companies that won't let THEIR KIDS have Tech Toys in Their PRIVATE SCHOOLS?

  12. This guy sounded like a loon to me when he started talking, and I do think he still is with some things, but I hope he's right about this clean meat thing because it sounds like it would have a lot of benefits

  13. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. Fake food fake meat whats left fake people. O yeah, we already have that. I agree animal agricultural has to stop, there has to be a better way, i think stores throw away more then they sell, and the same goes for produce. Factory farming has to end.

  14. I hope this really is the future of meat
    I like meat,but I feel guilty about it seeing how places treat animals.
    So I usually try to eat meats from the Local Butcher shop
    (Which is from Genuine Farms,not "farms"
    Or meat alternatives

  15. This could permanently end commercial fishing, destroy a huge majority of the preservative industry. Bioreactors could potentially hold the key to reversing extinction.

  16. I’d imagine with increased experience we can even figure out how to engineer the taste. So not only will we be able to get this to taste good, I believe we can even recreate the taste differences we see with stuff like all grass fed beef and so on. I’m not one to go vegan but I’d eat clean meat at the drop of a hat.

  17. Much misinformation given here in this Advertisement. The water used to raise a chicken is far from wasted. That water stays in the natural cycle of LIFE. Respirated and evaporated, but mostly in the form of chicken manure, one of the most fantastic forms of PLANT fertilizer. While there is good & bad forms of agriculture, fertilizer is only one example of how Animal Ag compliments Plant Ag. Without animal agriculture, plant agriculture would take a nosedive. The solution to bad Ag is simple, don't buy food from bad producers. Lab meat will have consequences that it's critics can't even imagine, brought to us by the same folks who gave us mad cow disease (USDA) by promoting grinding up entire beef animals and feeding them back to the herd as a way to 'conserve energy'. Seems to me that these so-called Clean Meat salesmen are merely a branch of Big Agri-Business cloaked as environmentally concerned do-gooders.

  18. This is so alarming…. we need to save the animals!

    Hold on 1 sec….

    Yeah… I'll get the combo #3 bacon burger…… large size combo with a diet coke and a side of 10 piece chicken nuggets

  19. A chicken drinks a cup or less off water each day, they drink much less than us humans much less, and I use maby 5 gallons of water to shower I'm guessing its around thir, how is a chicken gonna drink 5 gallons a day,

  20. Take more from the poor farmer and give to corporate America. Nothing is more natural than harvesting mother nature for nutrition

  21. I raised chickens in my backyard and it didn't take 1,000 gallons of water to raise one. They laid so many eggs we had to give some away.

    I dont think it's too much for us to be able to eat real meat. We don't have "too many farm animals". That is a lie. Real animal meat is safer and more natural than some lab created artificial substitute. While the elites are giving the masses Soylent Green and insects to eat, they will be dining on Kobe beef and caviar.

  22. I’m pretty excited for clean meat, but I think I’ll probably wait until they do human trials (if they have already, please tell me, I’m really excited for this).

  23. I like this talk as a talk about the principles behind clean meat but I was hoping to see more details on how the clean meat is created

  24. Brilliant arguments. Nobel Prize worthy in my eyes. I'm in Alaska, and well, I'd like to help California not have to worry so much about droughts. But I don't know what to do, I work on cars. This guy is hitting every nail on it's head perfectly. I'd totally try some clean meat, if droughts go away for people who are suffering. I'll eat anything meant to be healthy, mail it to me and I'll critique it fairly. We are dealing with a very antiquated system that makes a lot of animals have no normal life just so we can eat them. I know it, I still buy it, it's cheap, I still feel bad about it. But my justification is, well atleast I ate it, and it sustained me so sorry, and thank you.

  25. I don't know if his stats are accurate, but a system that significantly reduces the suffering and slaughtering of animals is a system I can easily support.
    I say reduce rather than eliminate because some species of animals require meat in their diets, so complete elimination of animal suffering (in the wild) and slaughter (for pet food as well) is unfortunately not realistic.

  26. Yall are all atheists if you support his worldview. What does it matter if we eat all the animals or destroy the planet? Too many people on the planet..are you kidding me? All of yall socialist atheist aren't having kids so there is no way that the earth will add billions of people.

  27. A whopping 1.2 trillion US dollar market size is looming there on the horizon within the next 20 years. Food, Water and Energy + Mobility are sure shots. And the most ironic thing is that countries who are typically doomed to import a large amount of food could turn into new exporters of protein. If you look at the developments in California or Israel or China or the UK or the Netherlands in terms of new or future foods. While the EU is still sleeping and hesitant to catch up.

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