How we live our life makes a significant impact on the environment. Even though you might see yourself as one sole individual not being able to affect much change, imagine if 7 billion of us thought we were the one that could make a change. Now that’ll make shifts in the world!
It all matters – what you consume, how you live, what your drive and what you buy.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that many people like you are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and be less destructive to the earth. We all know the basics – reusing, recycling, choosing transportation based on energy consumption, even turning off the lights when they aren’t needed. These are all good. But there is another way to make a more significant change to lessen environmental destruction. That move is switching to a vegan diet.
Let’s face it, a plant-based diet, as opposed to an omnivore diet, uses much less natural resources to produce.
A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Marlow, et al., 2009) has shown that reducing animal-based products in our meals can have a significant environmental impact. Omnivore diets use 2.9 times more water, 2.5 times more energy and thirteen times more fertilizer than a vegetarian diet. This doesn’t include all the deforestation, overfishing and pollution that comes with a meat-based diet.
Let’s look at how veganism can potentially save the world from self-destruction.
Eating a vegan diet reduces water consumption considerably.
Hundreds of millions of people around the world don’t have access to clean water. Many more struggle with periodic water scarcity, mostly because of drought and mismanagement. And it isn’t just the third world or developing countries that have this problem. The truth is – livestock consumes more freshwater than any living creatures alive today. It takes substantially more water to raise a kilogram of beef than it does to grow a kilogram of plant foods. Just cutting down on a kilo of beef can save up to 15,000 liters of water. According to the USDA, the average person consumer 100kg of red meat year, which equate to the usage of 1.5million litres of water!!
It cleans the soil
Living a plant-based lifestyle cleans the soil by growing a diversity of plants to replenish the earth.
Livestock erodes and weakens the soil. The animals take up large amounts of land to raise, this leads to deforestation to allow for roaming and grazing. Raising a diversity of plants in these areas previously used for grazing nourishes the soil and leads to long term resilience, and ultimately decreases soil erosion.
Reduces energy consumption
Plant-based proteins use up to 8 times less energy, and that includes processing and transportation costs.
Raising livestock, no matter how small, costs a bucket load of energy. Animals take time to grow, and they consume food that is cultivated on land. Finally, there is astronomical processing, shipping and refrigeration costs involved in getting the protein to the kitchen table.
Try this… the next time you are about to eat the food on your plate, think long and hard about the process or journey that piece of food would have gone through to get to you. Flights, trucks, cars, tractors and many more were involved. That’s a lot of energy!
Eating plants purifies the air.
There is untold pollution involved with meat-based diets. When you add up all the fossil fuels used for raising, slaughtering and transporting the animals, not to mention the amount of methane gas produced by cows. Livestock and its by-products have been estimated to account for a large portion of the annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. They are also one of the major polluters of freshwater, mostly due to mismanagement. Phosphorus and nitrogen runoff from grazing land into our waterways leads to dead zones were few species can survive.
No matter which way you look at it, the production of plant-based foods is a more efficient use of our limited resources. It requires less energy from fossil fuels, as well as less land and water usage. By removing animal products from our diet, we can play a significant role in reducing humans damaging impact on our precious environment.