Maybe a lot of you have either thought about going plant-based or you might be already following a plant-based or vegan diet and a lot of you know about its health benefits.
The health benefits and also animal welfare is sometimes really the high driver for people who are interested or wanting to transition to a plant-based diet. But there's also this huge impact that a plant-based diet benefits and that is our beautiful Mother Earth.
Here are many different ways that veganism benefits the environment:
1.Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The UN released a climate report that talked about the rate at which our planet is warming and that is directly tied to the number or the number of emissions that are being generated across the globe.
The largest percentage of emissions is contributed to fossil fuels.
Everybody kind of focuses on fossil fuels and then everybody, the next kind of level is a lot of people talk about transportation. So things like gas, transportation from airplanes, trains, basically the whole transportation sector in general but what's interesting are
that animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation segment combined.
So animal agriculture producing things like cows and pigs and chickens and eggs and milk, which is contributing to 18% of our total global greenhouse gas emissions.
Transportation, all of those things combined; cars, trucks, planes, automobiles, trains; everything combined for transportation emissions is only 13%. So if we're focused on greenhouse gas emissions we need to think about animal agriculture.
The next thing to consider greenhouse gas emissions is the type of greenhouse gases that are getting emitted by animal agriculture. Yes, it's carbon dioxide but it's also methane and methane is actually 20 to 100 times more destructive than carbon dioxide and cows alone are producing 150 billion pounds of methane every single day.
So cows that are grazing across this planet are emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases every single day. One of the biggest impacts that we can have individually is by changing our diet and that will save us huge amounts of emissions every single day.
- Land use and deforestation
Many of you know, our world is mostly water. So the surface of our world is mostly water. Only 30% of the world's surface is land and 43% of that is dedicated to agriculture. So, half of the available land that covers this entire globe is dedicated to not only food but also agriculture in terms of textiles and things like that. Over 80% is dedicated to our food system and within that 80% the majority of it is dedicated to animal agriculture, both directly and indirectly. And by that I mean it's dedicated to the actual animals grazing but then there's also all of the lands that it takes to feed those animals.
Much of the agricultural land is dedicated to feeding animals. And then in terms of deforestation. There are one to two acres
of rainforest cleared every single second on the globe and there have been over million acres of rain forest destroyed for animal agriculture use, again both for grazing animals but also for feeding animals.
So, the animal footprint I guess you could say on this globe is tremendous. And again this is one of those things where we're talking about how if we step away from eating animals and
focus more on eating plants we can offset that or
able to help reduce the demand and with that, on an individual level, every single day if you are following a plant-based diet you are saving some square feet of forest every single day.
- Water Usage
From what I just said earlier, most of our land surface or most of our world's surface is water, it's nearly 70%. But of that 70%, only 3% of it is fresh or drinkable water. So as that relates to the vegan diet, again talking about the negative implications of using animal proteins in your diet or using animal products in your diet. And beef is one of the most highly intensive, water-intensive products in the market.
One pound of ground beef uses 2,500 gallons of water to produce and that includes the entire supply chain. So, it's the water it takes to grow the feed, it's the water it takes that the cows are drinking, it's the water it takes in the production process.
So on an individual level if you are to follow a vegan diet every single day you will be saving over a thousand gallons of water every single day.
- The Health of Our Oceans
Our oceans are acidifying, they're also warming, and they are becoming less and less inhabitable for ocean life. In addition to that, we are over-exploiting our oceans so a lot of people don't talk about fishing or fish in terms of the negative impacts of animal agriculture, but 3/4 of the world's fish populations are getting over-exploited. And within that, there are 90 to 100 million pounds of fish taken out of our oceans every single year.
For most species, we are taking more fish out than they can naturally reproduce. So a lot of these species are in grave danger or they have even gone extinct and we just don't even realize it.
The next thing to think about with fishing is by-catch or by-kill. So for every one pound of fish that is served at a grocery store or served at a restaurant, there have been up to five pounds of additional fish killed to get you that one fish. So essentially how that works is people are fishing with huge giant nets, right?
So let's take shrimp for example. They throw this
huge net out into the ocean and they scoop up as much as they can. So in addition to the shrimp that they're getting, which is what they wanna catch, they're also catching all of these other species. It can be up to five additional pounds per pound of fish that
served five additional pounds of species that are killed just to get that one pound of fish. So your impact on the oceans is even greater than you might even realize. So, those are the main things that I feel like a plant-based diet benefits.
It's really how you are avoiding all of these negative impacts on the environment by eating plant-based foods but here are a few different stats about a plant-based diet which might bring this all into perspective and really kind of bring it all home.
Meat, aquaculture, eggs, and dairy use at least 83% of the world's farmland and contribute 56 to 58% of the world's emissions despite providing only 30% of our protein and 18% of our calories.
There are 70 billion farmed animals reared annually worldwide and more than six million animals are killed every hour for food.
Humans drink 5.2 billion gallons of water every single day.
Cows drink 45 billion gallons of water every single day.
Humans eat 21 billion pounds of food every single day.
Cows eat 135 billion pounds of food every single day.
And worldwide, at least 50% of the grain that's grown is fed to livestock.
And with the amount of grain that we're growing to feed our animals, we could feed a population of over 10 billion people, which is a couple more billion than we have on our planet already.
Here’s how you as an individual can impact the environment just by the food choices that you are making. It’s all about switching to a plant-based diet. On an individual basis if you were to be following a plant-based diet every single day, here is what you would be doing for the environment. We would be saving
a thousand gallons of water, you would be saving pounds of grain, you would be saving some square feet of forest, you would be saving pounds of CO2 emissions every single day, and you would be saving at least one animal's life.
If there's somebody in your family or your circle that is considering a plant-based diet, you can sneak in a meat alternative like The Good Choices Ph™ products, they won't believe it's NOT Meat. We believe that the food that we eat and our diet is potentially the single biggest way that we can have an impact on our planet's health and it's something that we all need to take seriously. So, if you are not on the plant-based bandwagon yet I encourage you to read more and potentially try to make the switch and try The Good Choices plant-based products.