How Going Vegan Can Help Save the Planet
Americans are increasingly fired up over climate change.
About two-thirds of American adults acknowledge that global warming is a real problem, according to Gallup polling in March 2019. And a survey by researchers at Yale University and George Mason University in December 2018 shows that 59 percent of Americans are either “alarmed” or “concerned” about global warming.
But what can you do to combat climate change in addition to reducing your carbon footprint or increasing household recycling? One of the most straightforward ways to deal with this is through a vegan diet.
Going vegan is the most impactful thing a person can do to combat climate change. It is much more effective than most commonly known methods such as fuel-efficient cars, recycling, energy-efficient light bulbs and short showering, “says Climate Vegan, a non-profit organization that promotes veganism as a climate change solution.
Five research areas highlight how a vegan diet can lead to a healthier world.
1.The power of plant-based diets
A 2018 published study in Science found that plant-based diets can reduce environmental emissions, including greenhouse gasses, by more than 70 percent from food production.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford and the Agroscope Swiss Farm Research Institute, shows that animal-free dieting provides more environmental benefits than buying sustainable meat or milk products. Adherence to an animal-free diet is more likely to have environmental advantages than changing the way meat and dairy products are produced according to research.
In a 2016 study published by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Oxford scientists estimated that a global switch to vegan diets could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food by 70 percent.
Meanwhile, researchers found that meat eaters were responsible for about 250 percent more food-related greenhouse gas emissions than vegetables in another Oxford study — the same published in Climatic Change.
2.The impact of manure
According to People for Animal Ethical Treatment (PETA). Animals raised for food in the United States produce many times more excrements than all humans in the United States.
PETA quotes U.S. data Animals in American factory farms produced approximately 500 million tons of manure annually by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This manure produces greenhouse gases, although it is subsequently used as an agricultural fertilizer, according to a study published by the Soil Science Society of America Journal at the University of Vermont in January 2019.
3.The effects of methane
Not only does manure produce greenhouse gasses, but animals (especially burping, gassy cows) also release their digestive tracts with methane — a strong greenhouse gas.
A study published in 2017 in the journal Carbon Balance and Management found that global livestock emissions, including methane, were 11 percent higher than previously estimated. Methane, mainly from agriculture, contributes 16 percent of greenhouse gas emissions citing EPA data released in 2017, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.
In response to the 2017 study, Dave Reay, a professor at Edinburgh University of Scotland, told The Guardian:’ As our diets grow richer in meat and milk,The hidden costs of our food tend to increase. Cows with less methane are not as eye-catcher as wind turbines and solar panels, but are equally important in tackling climate change.
4.The dangers of deforestation
According to the Rainforest Alliance, forests that absorb greenhouse gas are often cleared to make room for livestock and crops. Once the trees have been cut down, they release the carbon dioxide they store. To make matters worse, burning or leaving these trees in rot produces even more emissions.
The alliance says deforestation is responsible for approximately 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Union of scientists concerned, “Ground Null” for beef-driven deforestation is South America.
“Vegan or vegetarian diet is linked to only half of cropland demand, grazing strength and overall biomass harvesting of comparable meat-based foods,” according to a 2016 study on deforestation published in Nature Communications newspaper.
5.The benefits of being meat free
A UK study published in the 2013 Energy Policy newspaper found that removing meat from your diet reduces food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 35 %. This was the highest percentage of the 66 food categories investigated by researchers.
This finding is supported by a 2018 study by researchers at Tulane University and the University of Michigan, which found that 20 percent of Americans make up almost 50 percent of US greenhouse gas dietary emissions. The biggest culprit: high beef consumption. The study was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
“Reducing the impact of our diets — with fewer calories and fewer animal-based foods — could lead to significant emission reductions in US greenhouse gases. It is climate action that is accessible to all, because we all decide on what we eat on a daily basis,” says research co-author Martin Heller, a researcher with the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan.