You’ve heard the news: The climate crisis is playing out in real-time, and if we don’t act soon, frequent natural disasters and rising ocean levels will put millions of people in immediate danger.
Even if you’re taking steps like using less plastic, recycling more, and turning off the water while brushing your teeth, there’s still one big thing you might be overlooking. And that’s your diet.
If you’ve ever wanted to be a hero, here’s your chance!
The United Nations has spoken, and they say that going vegan is one of our best chances at saving the planet.
To give you an idea of how a vegan diet can benefit the planet, here are 5 ways veganism is better for the environment.
- It reduces greenhouse gas emissions
When you consider the fact that meat alone is responsible for 60% of all greenhouse gases from food production, it’s pretty easy to see how a vegan diet could help reduce climate change.
The biggest culprits: methane and nitrous oxide. But what are these gases, and why are they so bad?
Methane is one of the most destructive greenhouse gases out there, contributing to global warming at up to 86 times the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2). That means that when cows belch out their methane emissions, they’re making things worse for everyone on Earth—and dairy cows are notorious for their flatulence! When you consider that there are around 1.3 billion cows in the world, collectively they release A LOT of methane.
Nitrous oxide is another problem child when it comes to climate change: it has an impact nearly 300 times greater than CO2 over 100 years and contributes significantly more than any other gas (except for CO2). And guess what produces nitrous oxide? Animal agriculture. In fact, manure waste from livestock farms is responsible for 18% of nitrous oxide emissions globally.
So how do vegans stack up against meat eaters when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Studies have shown vegan diets have the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions —and by up to 35 to 50%!
When we eliminate animals from our diets, we eliminate their contribution to pollution!
- It uses fewer resources
Veganism is better for the environment because it uses a lot less of the world’s important resources.
Why is this?
First up, veganism conserves land. Meat and dairy production requires much more land than vegetable production does. It’s estimated that one acre of land can produce 20,000 pounds of vegetables, but only 465 pounds of beef. That’s a huge difference!
Second, going vegan conserves water.
Water is crucial to survival, and The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that 40 percent of all freshwater is used for livestock production and irrigation for feed crops.
To paint a picture: One kilogram of beef requires more than 15,000 litres of water. With that much water, you could grow 60 kilograms of potatoes, 83 kilograms of tomatoes, or 118 kilograms of carrots.
Just by ditching meat, a vegan saves a massive: 4,164 Litres of water every day!
Check out this vegan saves calculator yourself to see how much water you could save daily going vegan.
- It reduces energy consumption
There’s no denying it: meat is expensive. Not just in terms of the price tag, but also in terms of the resources required to produce it.
Meat requires a lot of processing and energy consumption to produce—more than plant-based sources such as beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. In fact, producing 1 kg of beef requires 15 times more energy than producing 1 kg of rice!
The more energy we can save and use efficiently, the better our planet will be as a result. So if you’re looking for an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint and save some cash while you’re at it, consider making the switch from meat to plant-based products
- It can save the ocean
The oceans are dying.
That’s the takeaway from a new Netflix documentary, SeaSpiracy, which claims that if we don’t change our ways, there will be virtually no fish in the ocean by 2048.
The documentary focuses on how animal agriculture has contributed to climate change and ocean pollution. Animal waste runoff contains all kinds of chemicals, like pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones used in livestock production.
When these chemicals get into the ocean, they can have devastating effects on marine life—and on us! Scientists have found that these chemicals can cause brain damage in sea life and even cause cancer in humans who eat those fish.
And it’s not just our oceans at risk: it’s all waterways. Factory farms are responsible for releasing pollutants into our lakes and rivers too. This pollution can lead to algae blooms that rob water bodies of their oxygen supply and kill off fish populations, as well as create “dead zones” where no aquatic life can survive.
The show also argues there is no such thing as sustainable fishing and the only solution is for people to switch to a plant-based diet so that the oceans can recover!
- It protects the land and the living
The world’s forests are disappearing fast, and the cause is largely due to unsustainable farming practices that rely on deforestation.
It’s true: The meat industry is responsible for nearly one-third of all global deforestation AND over half of the Amazon rainforest’s deforestation.
So not only are we losing biodiversity and species extinction, but we’re also losing an important carbon sink, which means more greenhouse gases.
According to WWF; The loss of wildlife is driven most directly by the loss and degradation of their habitats—such as clearing forests, grasslands, and wetlands to make room for pastures, cropland, and fish farms.
On top of the destruction caused by the meat industry, it has led to the degradation of soil.
By clearing forests for cattle grazing and feed production, the soil loses its nutrients and becomes unsuitable for plants to grow.
Switching to plant-based foods is the single most important thing you can do to heal our planet. By cutting down on meat production, we can help reduce deforestation and its devastating effects on our planet’s wildlife. And, make room for the rewilding process—letting environments and ecosystems get back to their natural rhythms.
So there you have it: 5 top facts that prove without a doubt that veganism IS better for the environment.
It’s not just a myth or a trend—it’s a fact. And an easy one to adopt too! All it takes is a little bit of planning, and you’ll be on your way to saving the planet in no time.
Ready to get started? Check out some more of our handy articles about the vegan diet
Thanks for reading! Now go be a hero!