Environmental Impact of a Plant Based Diet
Scientific studies show that animal agriculture is one of the biggest sources of the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change. That is why the environmental impact of a plant based diet is so important. We can help our planet by avoiding meat and dairy products.
Animals raised for meat and dairy products account for at least 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than all the cars and trucks in the world put together. Some studies put it even higher at 63%! Even skipping meat for one day will prevent more greenhouse gasses than skipping the average commute to work for the whole week.
An organic vegan diet alone can cut your personal carbon footprint by more than half!
According to Dr. Michael Greger’s research, the best way to help slow climate change is to adopt an organic, plant-based diet. Watch his video to find out more:
Greenhouse Gas Chart for Emissions from Common Proteins and Vegetables
Environmental Working Group has created a great chart showing the impact of various meats and other foods on carbon emissions. Look at how much higher lamb and beef are compared to everything else:
A Vegan Diet Can Help Save Endangered Ecosystems and Species
According to a recent Veganuary newsletter:
- Animal agriculture is the major driver of global deforestation and land degradation – vast amounts of land is cleared on a daily basis to provide space to grow animal feed, and for grazing.
- 30 percent of the land surface of the planet is used for animal agriculture.
- Livestock farming is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the planes, trains, cars and buses in the world.
- Animal agriculture-driven habitat loss is a contributing factor for most of the world’s threatened species.
- Raising animals for food causes species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
Can Avoiding Meat, Dairy, and Eggs Save the Planet?
The short answer is, “I don’t know.” Will enough people adopt a plant-based diet fast enough to make a real difference? Will we be able to cut our industrial and personal carbon emissions enough to slow or stop climate change? There are so many questions we cannot answer yet.
There are those, many in power right now, who claim that climate change is not affected by human activities. They want to pump even more greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere. To them I say, “pollution is toxic, whether it raises the temperature of Earth or not. Don’t pretend that industrial waste, concentrated animal waste, and higher carbon dioxide levels are not harmful to humans, animals, and plants.” Fortunately, most people can see that their arguments only support their desire to make money at the expense of the rest of the world.
I do know that avoiding animal products will have a positive impact on the planet, while also improving your own health and sparing countless animals from lives of misery. Maybe your own personal diet seems like a drop in the bucket compared to 7 billion other people, but every little bit helps. The good news is that more and more people are cutting back on, or eliminating, animal products, for health, environmental, or compassionate reasons. Together, we are making a difference.
We now have much better access to scientific studies, and a much easier way to share them through social media. Books like The China Study, by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and How Not to Die, by Dr. Michael Greger have also had a huge impact. Don’t be afraid to share scientific data about health, pollution, and animal consciousness, along with your photos of cute animals, and uplifting content on social media. Most people will not change overnight, but repeated exposure to information can eventually open their eyes. Facts can be very convincing!
Unfortunately, the “Paleo” fad is working against the plant-based trend by promoting heavy meat and fat consumption. This goes against most of the scientific health studies I’ve seen. I fear it will lead to an epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, gout, and general ill health. Though, in the short term it can make people feel better, because they stop eating refined junk foods, and eat more vegetables. It does help people lose weight, but so does a raw plant diet.
The highest consumption of animal products occurs in “developed” nations, like the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. There are many heavily populated areas of Africa, India, and China where little or no meat is consumed. Those of us in industrialized nations have the means and the responsibility to share the science as widely as possible. We are the biggest offenders, so we can have the most influence on our own family, friends, and neighbors.
Let’s Look at What Vegans Eat to find out how to stay healthy on a whole foods plant based diet.
How a Plant Based Diet helps in Preventing World Hunger
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