The food we eat has a huge impact on our planet. Livestock farming takes up 77 percent of agricultural land, causes deforestation, destroys other ecosystems and leads to more than 60 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions from our food systems. All this while contributing only 17 percent of the global caloric requirement.
It is clear that humanity needs to move from a meat and dairy diet to a vegetarian diet.
What’s more, researchers at the University of Oxford suggest that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet can reduce your carbon footprint. The study says that a vegan diet could be the best way to reduce environmental impact on the planet. A vegan diet means less air pollution, less water consumption, and fewer animals killed naturally. There is no doubt that this type of lifestyle has a host of environmental benefits. Raising animals for food consumes huge amounts of land, water, food and energy. It goes without saying that the by-products of animal farming pollute the air and the water we drink.
With the world’s population increasing and the appetite for meat increasing worldwide, the environmental reasons to go vegetarian I became more lively. Let’s examine them one by one.
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Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Meat production includes 3 major greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. While carbon dioxide is known as the main cause of global warming, methane has a significant warming effect. While the latter may not stay as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is stronger and absorbs more heat.
Nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas released as a result of animal husbandry, is 300 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. 65 percent of the world Nitrous oxide emissions are attributed to the meat, dairy and egg industries.
Switching to a plant-based diet means that you will stop contributing to these major emissions.
Also read:Celebrities are supporting a vegan campaign
You save water
By being a vegetarian, you save water, which is in short supply in many parts of the world. While many lack access to safe water, agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s fresh water and livestock consumes more fresh water than anything else.
Besides, livestock is a major pollutant of fresh water. High doses of fertilizers, chemicals, and antibiotics used to raise animals are released into nearby waters and lakes, threatening the safety of drinking water and other species that live in those areas.
Also read: Groundwater protection through safe sanitation
Help endangered species survive
With increasing amounts of rainforest being cleared for animal husbandry and grazing, its inhabitants are having a hard time to survive.
Wild animals are crammed into smaller habitats where it is more difficult for them to survive. Furthermore, as agriculture overtakes their habitat, they are forced into contact with humans, which increases the risk of zoonotic diseases and human-wildlife conflict.
Also read:Compassion for animals is the main reason people go vegan: a survey
Helping the ocean ecosystem re-establish stability
While we are aware of the serious threat of plastic pollution, ocean acidification is even more deadly.
Ocean acidification caused by increased uptake of carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere makes it difficult for organisms, such as corals, molluscs, and crustaceans, to grow and reproduce.
Switching to a plant-based diet could help reduce the amount of agricultural carbon being pumped into the atmosphere and help ocean ecosystems stabilize.
In short, a vegan diet is the only solution if we want to save our planet. Otherwise, we, as a species, and our planet Earth could be in serious trouble. Instead, if we all learn to eat wisely, we will be healthier and kinder.