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Vegetarianism And Environment: Can Meatless Diet Really Save The Environment?

Plant-Based Diet Is The Single Biggest Way To Reduce Your Carbon Footprints


The teachings of ancient Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain saints about our eating habits have had more than just spirituality and faith. They might not have thought it that way while preaching about a vegetarian diet, but a meatless diet can actually save the earth from warming up further. Several studies have found that a plant-based diet helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A vegetarian diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two times compared to a non-vegetarian diet, and a vegan diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 2.5 times. Our eating habits have an enormous environmental impact. Estimated, food production causes 35% of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, with meat responsible for more than twice the pollution of fruits, crops, and vegetables. Undoubtedly, vegetarianism and the environment are linked to each other, and a meatless diet might solve a quarter of the world’s environmental issues.

The Link Between Food And Climate Change

The Link Between Food And Climate Change

We all agree that how climate change is posing a threat to food security. The increasing natural disasters such as floods, rising temperature, extreme weather events, and forest fires have an impact on agriculture and food. But most of us do not understand that our eating habit triggers climate change too. Food production is primarily responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture and raising livestock are responsible for deforestation, and the food waste adds an extra burden to rising global temperature.

A study published in Nature Food suggests that food production, including the use of farming machinery, fertilizer, and transportation, causes 17.3bn metric tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. Food production accounts for a third of all carbon footprints caused by human activity, with the inclusion of meat in our diet causing twice the pollution of producing plant-based foods.

As per the report, the use of animals for food, as well as livestock feed, is responsible for 57% of all food production emissions, whereas beef alone accounts for a quarter of emissions produced by raising and growing food. Not only this, grazing animals require a lot of land, which often leads to deforestation, as well as vast tracts of additional land to grow their feed. Most of the world’s cropland is used to feed livestock rather than people. The study also indicates the difference in emissions between meat and plant production. For instance,  the production of 1kg of wheat emits 2.5kg of greenhouse gases, whereas 1kg of beef creates 70kg of emissions.

Veganism Is The Single Biggest Way To Reduce Your Carbon Footprints

Some of us really want to do things that save the environment, and we wonder what the way out is. Many of us have already started following a sustainable lifestyle by switching to eclectic mobility, public transportation, and green energy resources. But you know what can make your efforts more green – a meatless diet.

A study published in the Journal of Science suggests that removing meat and dairy consumption from our diet can reduce the global farmland by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union, and Australia combined. The study also tells that meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, while it uses 83% of farmland and generates 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions

The Growing Veganism Trend 

Researcher Joseph Poore at the University of Oxford said, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use.” “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he added.

The Growing Veganism Trend 

The Growing Veganism Trend 

The vegan trend is on the rise in the west. Most youngsters and teenagers are moving towards a meatless diet for health concerns, a better environment, and to prevent animal cruelty. About 3 per cent of respondents in the United Kingdom said they were vegan in a 2021 Statista Global Consumer Survey of United Kingdom consumers. A quarter of respondents were identified as Generation Z in 2020, and about 15 per cent of U.K. respondents who were Millennials and Generation X were vegan.

The number of vegans in the UK increased by four times between 2014 and 2019. In 2019, there were 600,000 vegans, 276,000 in 2016, and 150,000. In 2022, Ipsos said in a report that 46% of Brits aged 16-75 are considering reducing their intake of animal products in the future. Other research by The Grocer found that 15% of UK consumers had cut dairy from their diet completely, and a further 42% had reduced their intake. 63.5% of Britons bought vegan food items in the past 2020, and 50.8% were willing to replace meat intake with plant-based alternatives.

Conclusion

A meatless diet is surely the ‘biggest single way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.’ However, choosing a food habit is completely a personal choice, and we are not forcing anyone to give up on their meat consumption. But if you are one of those people who think about the well-being of our environment, you can consider moving towards a plant-based diet. Vegetarianism and the environment are linked, and cutting meat consumption from the daily diet might help the earth keep from warming further.

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