Go Plant-Based! It is the Only Way To Save Our Planet.
It seems that after being mistreated for decades, our Mother Earth is finally fighting back to survive. Fortunately, we need to look no further than our food choices to save the planet. It’s time we woke up and understood the close connection between our eating habits and our increasingly vulnerable planet. It’s time to change some habits…
HOW ANIMAL AGRICULTURE AFFECTS CLIMATE CHANGE
Meat, dairy, and egg production are among the leading causes of human-caused climate change, soil erosion, water pollution, and the decrease in biodiversity. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, farmed animals are responsible for 14.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, animal agriculture accounts for at least half of all food-related greenhouse gas emissions, as the global food system contributes up to 30% of all human-made emissions.
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY AND GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
While carbon dioxide is the most notorious greenhouse gas, responsible for about 27% of animal agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, methane is potentially 28 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of its global warming potential, while nitrous oxide is 265 times as potent. The greatest source of the former is cattle, who, like all ruminants (cows, sheep, and goats), produce methane during their digestive process. This gas is responsible for about 44% of animal agriculture’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrous oxide, on the other hand, is released when animal manure is used as fertilizer, composted, or otherwise processed. It is especially problematic if more nitrogen is used than the vegetation can absorb. About 29% of the meat industry’s emissions are in the form of nitrous oxide. The immense scale of producing beef and dairy products means that cattle farming contributes the biggest share of the meat industry’s total greenhouse gas emissions, at 65%. Emission levels continue to rise due to ever-intensifying meat and dairy production.
Besides this, animal agriculture further exacerbates climate change as vast areas of forests, grasslands, and wetlands are cleared to provide land for grazing and to grow animal feed crops. Forests and other wildlands mitigate climate change by acting as massive carbon sinks, in which carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere and sequestered underground. Forests, wetlands, and grasslands fulfill vital functions for local climates and water supplies. Their destruction and conversion to farmland are among the largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, the resulting habitat destruction endangers plant and animal wildlife, compounding the pressure on biodiversity and ecosystems. Thus, animal agriculture has a doubly damaging effect on climate: not only does it produce huge amounts of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but it also destroys Earth’s natural defense systems.
THE CORRELATION BETWEEN WHAT WE CHOOSE TO EAT AND OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
Rising incomes and urbanisation across developing countries are driving an increase in meat consumption. These changing demographics are bringing about a global food transition in which less-processed, highly plant-based traditional diets are being replaced by diets higher in refined sugars, refined fats, and animal products. If the consumption of meat and other animal products increases at current rates, global greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture will rise by nearly 80% by 2050.
Even though the consumption of animal products plays a major role in climate change, there is little public awareness of the link between diet and climate change. Recognising the climate impact of different foods is a crucial first step in making climate-friendly food choices. Click here for some more insightful articles to know more about how the consumption of animal products affects our planet!
GO PLANT-BASED, IT’S CLIMATE FRIENDLY…
There is consistent evidence that diets high in plant-based foods and lower in animal products are less damaging to the climate. For example, let us consider that producing 1 kg of beef releases between 16 kg and 30 kg of carbon dioxide into the environment. In this case, 1 kg of tofu would release only 1 kg of carbon dioxide. Studies suggest that personal food-related carbon footprints could be halved with the adoption of a plant-based diet, and that if everyone adopted a vegan diet, worldwide food-related greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by up to 70% by 2050. Given that, calorie for calorie, meat, dairy, and other animal-based foods create more greenhouse gases and require significantly more land and other resources than plant-based foods, it is easy to conclude that, besides its many other benefits, a plant-based diet is one of the simplest and most effective ways in which each of us can make a positive impact on climate change.
SOME QUICK FACTS…
You have the power to make a positive change on a global, planetary-scale just by switching to a plant-based diet. So what are you waiting for? Take the first step towards a healthier and safer planet by participating in our #21daychallenge today!
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