Vegetarianism can help save the planet from climate change, according to a UN report on tackling climate change. Scientists estimate that a change in diet is 20% of the total effort to combat global warming.
That is, if people around the world reduce meat consumption and reduce food waste, it can improve the environment.
Find out why foods have different effects on the environment, what their environmental friendliness depends on and how to make your diet more eco-friendly.
What determines the environmental friendliness of food?
The environmental friendliness of food production depends on the number of resources used to grow, transport it. Each factor in its own way affects how environmentally friendly we can consider the finished product.
Is there a link between the animal industry and climate change
Studies show that reducing the consumption of animal products can help reduce global warming. First of all, this is because the production of animal products, especially meat, uses a huge amount of resources on the planet and is responsible for at least 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
For example, if you compare the number of resources needed to obtain a kilogram of animal and vegetable protein, the animal needs an average of 10 times more land, 6 times more water, and greenhouse gas emissions will be five times higher than to obtain vegetable protein. This was proved by a study by the University of Cambridge.
So, if we abandon animal products, it will be very, very helpful in resolving the climate crisis, and vice versa, if we do nothing about our eating habits, we will not be able to stop global warming.
Here are some more important facts:
- The meat and dairy industries use 1/3 of all drinking water in the world.
Livestock is one of the main factors changing land use and deforestation. In total, each year, for various reasons, the land loses about 26 million hectares of forest per year (this is like the area of Great Britain).
- More than 70% of arable land worldwide is used for growing feed for farm animals. It competes with the area of land used to grow food for humans.
- The plant-based diet can reduce its carbon footprint (the total emissions of all greenhouse gases formed during production, transportation, and cooking) by 50% (compared to a diet dominated by animal products).
- To feed one average person on a plant-based diet during the year requires about 675 m² of land, while for one person who consumes animal products – 18 times more land, ie about 12 150 m².
Is a plant-based diet always the best choice?
In general, veganism is a more environmentally friendly type of food than any other. This is well illustrated by the Oxford Study, the largest study on the impact of food production on climate change. However, reducing or refusing to consume exotic foods also plays an important role, so the best solution for the environment will be consuming local plant products.
If you are not ready to give up all animal products at once, you can still reduce your environmental footprint.
Here are some simple ideas:
- Gradually reduce the number of products that have a high carbon footprint and replace them with local alternatives.
- Do not forget about the seasonality of products and try to buy local seasonal vegetables and fruits. Fewer resources were spent on their cultivation – water, electricity, fuel, etc.
- Try vegan alternatives to your favorite dishes, or something new for yourself, such as cooking seitan (so-called wheat “meat”, “fish” from tofu, oat milk, lentil cutlets, or linen pudding. The main thing is not to afraid to experiment.
First of all, we need to understand the problem and understand that each of us has the opportunity to help solve it.
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