Fortunately, one of the best ways to make an impact on our global food system is, in fact, a very straight-forward one: adopt a plant-based diet.
Here is a great quote from one of my favorite forward-thinking organizations, The Plantrician Project: “The good news: The dietary lifestyle that’s the most health promoting and disease fighting is also what’s sustainable and enables us to feed the world’s growing population. A predominantly whole food, plant-based diet = global sustainability.”
Here are some points to consider:
- Industrial animal production is harsh and inhumane. If you believe in the fair treatment of all species on this beautiful Earth, then you cannot in good conscience support an industry that goes against this very principle.
- The Standard American Diet (SAD) requires more land to produce less food: in other words, raising livestock and feed for livestock is far less efficient than growing vegetable crops. 1.5 acres of land can produce 37,000 pounds of plant based food, or just 375 pounds of meat.
- The SAD requires not only more land, but over 10x as much water and over 10x as much energy to produce, as compared to a plant-based diet. The meat and dairy industry use a full one third of Earth’s fresh water.
- The majority of global greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock and their byproducts – far more than emissions from transport including cars, trains, and planes. (Up to 3x as much, by some estimates!)
- Agriculture is responsible for 65% of nitrous oxide emissions caused by humans (more than burning fossil fuels), and most of this is directly related to industrial livestock operations.
- Animal agriculture contributes in a major way to rainforest destruction, and to the extinction of animal and insect species who call the rainforest home. This land could be returned to forested land if we all adopted a plant-based diet. In turn, forested land can combat the rapid advances of global warming.
- Commercial fishing practices allow for unintended marine species to be caught and discarded as by-kill: this is devastatingly destructive to numerous ocean-dwelling species. (Some estimates are as high as 5 lb of by-kill for every 1 lb of intended fishing.)
With our population ever-increasing, and just this one planet to sustain us, we must consider the implications of our food choices. Yes, the meat and dairy industry certainly seem like behemoths to go up against, but with every purchase that we make, we are casting our vote for the future that we want. The small choices that we make every day with our dollars really do matter.
What will your vote stand for?
Resources we recommend:
Cowspiracy (Watch on Netflix)
Food Choices (Watch on Netflix)
The Plantrician Project
“A Leading Cause of Everything: One Industry That Is Destroying Our Planet and Our Ability to Thrive on It”
One Green Planet
Next week, we will discuss the health-promoting and disease-fighting benefits of a plant-based diet in greater detail, to help you understand how helping the planet means also helping yourself. To be sure you never miss a post, sign up here.