Can switching to a plant-based diet really save the planet?
by Only Plant on Apr 21, 2022
The jury is still out on whether or not a plant-based diet can save the planet. Some say that Veganism is the way to go, while others believe that we need to change our diets and eating habits overall to make a difference. No matter what your opinion is, there's no doubt that our planet is in trouble and we need to do something about it.
What is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet focuses on plants for food, instead of animals. This means eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and limited amounts of meat, dairy, and processed foods. There are different types of plant-based diets, but they all have one common goal: to improve your health and the health of the planet.
The benefits of a plant-based diet
There are many reasons why people choose to follow a plant-based diet. For some, it's a way to improve their health. Plant-based diets have been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and the risk of heart disease. They can also help you lose weight and keep it off.
Others choose plant-based diets for environmental reasons. Raising animals for food requires a lot of land, water, and other resources. Factory farming also pollutes the air and water. A plant-based diet is a more sustainable way to eat.
How switching to a plant-based diet helps in saving the planet?
The plant-based diet holds a lot of environmental benefits as it helps in saving the planet. It goes a long way in helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, such as climate change, water shortages, and deforestation.
A plant-based diet requires less land than a meat-based diet. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that animal agriculture is responsible for 70% of global deforestation. Clearing land for grazing and growing feed crops destroys ecosystems and drives species extinction. A plant-based diet requires far less land than a meat-based diet, so it results in less deforestation.
To address it in detail here are some of the benefits of a plant-based diet for saving the planet.
1) They are low in greenhouse gas emissions
Livestock farming is responsible for 15% of all human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, while plant-based food production emits far less. The difference is largely due to methane emissions from livestock and manure, as well as carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation associated with animal agriculture.
2) The Carbon Footprint is low
The carbon footprint of plant-based foods is generally lower than that of animal-based foods. For example, the carbon footprint of red meat is about six times higher than that of plant-based proteins such as beans and lentils.
3) They require less land
Animal agriculture is a leading cause of deforestation, habitat loss, and species extinction. It takes up about 80% of the world’s agricultural land but produces only 18% of the world’s food supply. In contrast, plant-based foods require far less land to produce. For example, in comparison with meat, tofu requires 60% less land to produce, grains require 100% less land, and vegetables require 200% less land.
4) They generate less pollution
Animal agriculture is responsible for several environmental pollutants, including greenhouse gasses, manure, and pesticides. For example, animal agriculture accounts for about 15% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire transportation sector.
5) They require less energy
Animal agriculture is also a major consumer of energy resources. It takes approximately 10 calories of fossil fuels to produce one calorie of animal protein, while it takes only two calories of fossil fuels to produce one plant-based protein calorie.
It takes a great deal of energy and resources to raise animals for food – including land, water, feed, transportation, and processing. Animal agriculture is responsible for about 80% of the world’s agricultural land use and 33% of our freshwater consumption.
6) They don't contribute to deforestation
Animal agriculture is a leading driver of deforestation, as land is cleared for pasture and crops are grown to feed animals. Animal agriculture is responsible for 80% of deforestation in the Amazon.
7) They help preserve our oceans
Animal agriculture is responsible for a huge amount of ocean pollution. The United Nations has reported that animal agriculture is “the leading cause of habitat destruction, ocean dead zones, and water pollution.” It is also a major contributor to climate change. Whereas the plant-based diet helps preserve our oceans.
8) They're more efficient
It takes less land and water to produce plant-based foods than it does to produce animal-based foods. It takes approximately 1/11th the amount of land to produce a plant-based diet as it does to produce a meat-based diet. And, a plant-based diet requires only 1/13th the amount of water as a meat-based diet.
The plant-based diet is not only healthier for us, but it’s also better for the environment. If we want to save the planet, switching to a plant-based diet is one of the most impactful changes we can make. It not only protects the planet by conserving resources but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps to preserve biodiversity.
It is high time now for all of us to think about saving our planet by moving towards plant-based diets. After all, it is the least we can do for the planet that has given us so much.