A vegan diet is the most effective way to protect the environment
Only about 18% of the calories humans consume come from animal products. However 83% of agricultural land is used for their production. These figures are the result of a study conducted by the University of Oxford. Read our blog post to find out what other results the most comprehensive study to date has revealed on this topic in relation to environmental protection.
Table of contents:
- Results of the study on environmental protection
- Our current diet is destroying the world
- Plant-based foods are not only better for the environment
- How can I reduce the negative impact of my diet on the environment?
Results of the study on environmental protection
Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek investigated the question of how we can reduce the negative impact of our diet on the environment. To do this, the experts examined a huge amount of data: 38,700 farms in 119 countries. They assessed the environmental impact of 40 foods (which make up 90% of what we eat) based on various criteria (e.g. water consumption or air pollution). The result of the study: The avoidance of animal products is the most effective contribution to environmental protection and does more than giving up cars or air travel..
The following figures make this particularly clear: If we stopped eating meat and milk, agricultural land could be reduced by 75% and 60% of agricultural greenhouse gases could be avoided. An area the size of the USA, China, the EU and Australia would be freed up. In addition, the rainforests could recover and the number of endangered animal species could be reduced. This would have a hugely positive impact on environmental protection. Until now, there has been little room for wild animals, as humans and livestock make up 96% of the world's mammals.
In addition, the results show that the ecological impact of a product also depends heavily on its production, storage, transportation, etc. In this respect, the most environmentally friendly cow's milk produced causes 50 times less greenhouse gases than the worst production method. Financial incentives could promote sustainable consumption and encourage farmers to produce in an environmentally friendly way. However, the study also showed that even the most environmentally friendly method of producing animal products is clearly inferior to an environmentally harmful plant-based alternative.
Our current diet is destroying the world
Around 7.5 billion people currently live on Earth. We can only feed them with our current eating habits and agricultural cultivation methods at the expense of our soils, forests and oceans. Climate change, soil acidification, species extinction and water pollution speak for themselves. The forecasts offer little cause for hope: by 2050, the world population is expected to grow to 10 billion people and meat production is set to increase by 85% . Under these circumstances, the protection of the oceans, the sustainable use of soils and the fight against poverty and hunger can only be achieved if we do not drastically change our way of life. The results of the study make it clear that our diet is more than a personal matter . The negative effects on humans, animals and the environment are too great. It is high time for a rethink in politics and among consumers and producers.
Plant-based foods are not only better for the environment
The simplest and most effective way to help protect the environment is to eliminate or at least reduce animal products from your diet. In addition to the environment, our health would also benefit. The range of plant-based foods has never been as diverse as it is today. There are plant-based alternatives for almost all animal products. You don't have to give up your habits and favorite recipes. Nevertheless, the consumption of meat remains virtually unchanged. It has only fallen by six percent since 2011. This is not least due to the fact that the production of animal-based foods is becoming ever cheaper as a result of factory farming. A plant-based diet would not only be better for our environment and health, but would also spare animals untold suffering.How can I reduce the negative impact of my diet on the environment?
- Reduce your meat consumption
You don't have to become a vegetarian straight away, but meat or sausage definitely doesn't have to end up on your plate every day either. Start with two to three meat-free days a week and then increase. The environment and your health will thank you for it. Replace milk and yogurt with plant-based alternatives
- Avoid plastic packaging
Another factor of our lifestyle is problematic for the environment: plastic. A plastic bottle or diaper takes 450 years to decompose. The oceans are now full of our plastic waste. So use cotton or jute bags to transport your food. Vegetable nets are now also available almost everywhere.
- J. Poore, T. Nemecek. Reducing food's environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science 2018; 360(6392):987-992
- Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland and Le Monde Diplomatique. Meat Atlas - Facts and figures about animals as food. 2nd Auﬂage, April 2018
- Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash
The range of plant-based milk and yogurts is now so wide that there really is something for everyone. If you're still finding it difficult to get used to the new taste: Mix milk and plant milk at first and then reduce the milk content more and more.Avoid eggs
The fried egg or boiled breakfast egg may be difficult to replace, but eggs in processed foods are often unnecessary. Pasta, cakes or desserts taste just as good without eggs without eggs . Just try it out and replace the eggs with soy flour, apple sauce, bananas or a vegan egg substitute.Buy local
Transport, storage and packaging can have a huge impact on the ecological footprint of food. This applies to both plant and animal products. That's why you should buy regional and seasonal food to protect the environment - ideally directly from the producer.