There is no doubt that a vegetarian diet or going vegan is a great way to sustain great health and there are a variety of vegan superfoods to contribute to great health but how will this kind of diet impact the environment? As they say when you go vegan, you can save the planet, one plateful at a time.
- A diet free of dairy, meat and eggs will save more carbon emissions. Raising cattle for food produces more greenhouse gases compared to using cars, planes and other forms of transportation combined. Raising animals uses about 30% of the planet’s land mass including land used for grazing cattle and growing feeds.
- About 70% of grains grown in the US are used to feed animals such as cows, chickens, ducks and pigs. Instead of feeding animals, this food could be used by people instead.
- Around 80% of deforested land found in the Amazon is used to raise cattle. Imagine how many animal and plant species have been eradicated upon the use of this land.
- It is estimated that to produce about a pound of animal protein vs one pound of soy protein, it takes around 12 times more land, 15 times more water and about 13 times more fossil fuel. Soy products are more economical and less stressful to the environment to produce compared to animal protein products.
- Going vegan reduces excessive CO2 production. The livestock industry contributes about 9% of CO2 from human activities but products a higher and more harmful form of greenhouse gas.
- Starting a vegetarian diet will reduce methane and nitrous oxide production. Livestock produces about 64% ammonia which contributes to acid rain. The industry is also responsible for 65% human-related nitrous oxide which is 300 times more Global Warming Potential of CO2, the most coming from manure.
- Water needed to produce a kilo of beef can vary from 13,000 to 100,000 liters whereas water need to produce a kilo of wheat is only between 1,000 to 2,000 liters.
- Animal waste, antibiotics and hormones are major water pollutants and along with these are the use of fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals used to treat feed crops to feed livestock. A vegetarian diet could therefore greatly reduce water pollution.
A vegetarian diet can dramatically reduce the amount of water, oil and land resources that livestock consume as well as the amount of pollution that they produce. Reducing your eco footprint could also mean less harm to Mother Nature as well as its non-human inhabitants and contributes to sustainability. A vegan diet can therefore save hundreds upon hundreds of animals from being consumed as food.