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Veganism and the Environment + 3 Easy Ways to Help Our Planet

Veganism has become increasingly popular in the last few years. There are many reasons why veganism is beneficial for humans. It can improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, for instance. But what about the environment? How are veganism and the environment connected? According to studies, this meat-and-dairy-free diet can help our environment. It has considerably smaller carbon, water, and ecological footprints than animal-based diets.

For some people, the decision to go vegan is about the environment. You may have heard that a vegan diet is more sustainable than one containing meat or other animal products. In fact, in a recent interview with The Guardian, Sir David Attenborough said he thinks “we should move towards a vegetarian diet” and eat less meat because it was a more sustainable option.

There is no doubt that meat consumption has a substantial environmental impact. According to the United Nations, meat production takes up around 70% of agricultural land and accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally. Livestock production generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains, and ships combined. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming.

It’s not just CO2 emissions that are problematic. Methane, emitted from cattle and pigs, has a warming effect 86 times greater than carbon dioxide over 20 years. Animal agriculture also uses large quantities of water.

veganism and the environment are connected as large land is destroyed because of animal agriculture

To put it simply: growing crops is a much more efficient way to feed ourselves. It takes around 15 times more grain to produce the same number of calories from beef than it does from wheat. When we eat beef or cheese, we have to take all the energy it took to produce and ship that product into consideration. That includes energy used by farms, processing plants, and transportation companies. While plants can be grown on land that would otherwise be unsuitable for agriculture, animals must be raised in large feedlots or confined feeding operations. And these require large amounts of energy and resources.

Additionally, livestock is fed on soya, which requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers. Animal agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of Amazon destruction, due to soya plantations set up to feed cattle.

How are veganism and the environment connected?

However, not all non-meat diets are equally good for the environment. Although it is frequently beneficial for the environment to avoid eating meat, it is also vital to evaluate the foods we consume when eliminating animal products. There are many kinds of foods that can be part of a vegan diet. So not all vegan diets are equal when it comes to sustainability.

Some plant foods require significantly more resources to produce than others, especially foods like soybeans or palm oil which are often produced in large monocultures where farms grow acres upon acres of the same crop. Palm oil has received a lot of attention for its detrimental effects on the environment, especially when it comes to deforestation.

Monoculture farming is considered unsustainable due to its negative effects on biodiversity and soil health. Monocultures also require large amounts of land, water, pesticides, and other inputs while causing habitat destruction, loss of wildlife species, and soil degradation.

Studies about veganism and the environment

With such alarming statistics, veganism has been hailed by many as the solution to these global issues. A comprehensive study published in the journal Science found that eliminating meat and dairy is the “single biggest way” to reduce your impact on Earth. Restoring forests, reducing food waste, and shifting to plant-based diets are the top three ways to fight climate change, the study found.

Restoring forests and wetlands would be the most effective way of removing carbon from the atmosphere, followed by reducing food waste and changing what people eat, according to scientists at the Swiss university ETH Zurich.

How can we help the environment with our diet?

Whole-foods plant-based diet is a good option if you want to help the environment. Choose legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits with emphasis on local and/or seasonal products. Additionally, use products that are minimally processed.

Did you know that what we eat can help the environment? It’s true! Veganism and the environment are connected. By making some small changes to our diet, we can actually help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable agriculture. Here are a few ways you can help make a difference:

  • Eat less or no meat and dairy.
  • Buy local and organic food when possible.
  • Reduce food waste by composting or recycling your food scraps.

Every little bit makes a difference when it comes to protecting our planet. So next time you’re at the grocery store or planning out your meals for the week, keep these tips in mind! Together, we can make a positive impact on the environment.

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