A new study suggests that Veganism diet is the “single biggest way” we can reduce our environmental impact on the planet. These findings come from the University of Oxford where researchers discovered that reducing meat and dairy products can lower a person’s carbon footprint from food by 73%.
At the same time, they found that the global farmland use can be reduced by 75% everyone eliminates these foods.
This can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emission and free up wild land used in farming, which is a major cause of wildlife extinction.
The Scope of the Study
The study which was published in the journal Science happens to be the most current and comprehensive one that analyzes the negative effects of farming on the environment. It includes data from about 40,000 farms in 119 countries.
According to the study, meat and dairy products account for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, while the products offer only 18% of calories and 37% of protein consumed around the world.
Researchers examined 40 agricultural products, which covered 90% of all the food humans consume. They assessed the impact of each on the environment by analyzing air pollution, water pollution, and climate change emissions.
The lead author Joseph Poore said that a vegan diet is perhaps the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet earth. This includes global acidification, greenhouse gases, eutrophication, land use, and water use.
Poore insists that this would be far bigger than buying an electric car or cutting down your flights because such would only cut down greenhouse emissions. He also added that skipping animal products in your diet amounts to better environmental benefits than purchasing meat and dairy products.
For instance, beef cattle raised on natural pastures use 50 times less land than those reared on deforested land. By comparison, the latter can lead up to 12 times more greenhouse gas emissions.
This contrast of greenhouse gas emissions is due to the production of plant-based protein products like peas and tofu.
Impact of Sustainable Production
Some production methods that are deemed to be sustainable can also pose environmental problems. These include grass-fed beef and freshwater fish farming. According to Poore, conversion of grass into meat is comparable to the conversion of coal to energy.
These findings come from a five-year-long project. Its initial focus was to investigate sustainable dairy and meat production.
Poore even gave up eating animal products one year after he began his study. He told The Independent that his next step is to find ways to practically test his proposed approach. He isn’t for the idea of putting environmental labels on food products. This is mainly because consumers take time before they are aware of things and take action.
Poore is hopeful that communicating the information to consumers will probably tip the entire food system toward accountability and sustainability.