Published: Sun, June 03, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Cutting out meat and dairy greatly helps the planet, says new research

Cutting out meat and dairy greatly helps the planet, says new research

According to the research, if people stopped consuming meat and dairy products, we could reduce global farmland use by over 75 percent - that's an area that could fit all of the U.S., China, the European Union, AND Australia - while still feeding the world's growing population successfully.

If you want to truly make an impact on the environment in a significant manner, the best way to do it is to avoid meat and dairy.

"A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use".

The study, published in the journal Science, looked at almost 40,000 farms in 119 countries and produced the biggest data set ever analysed on the subject. It also accounts for 58 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 57 percent of water pollution, and 56 percent of air pollution. These include closer monitoring of environmental impacts and adopting more efficient technologies. "But the comparison of beef with plant protein such as peas is stark, with even the lowest impact beef responsible for six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land".

Vegan food can literally save the Earth, according to new research.

In fact, the study shows that, despite its impact on the environment, meat and dairy only provide 18 per cent of calories and 37 per cent of the protein the world consumes.

"Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy", the lead researcher added. He also highlighted that food is not just an issue for green-house gas emissions but causes nearly all of the world's major environmental issues.

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Many food experts praised the study.

It's not just the type of food being produced and consumed, but where and how it's done. Meanwhile, high-impact rice created 500% more green house gas emissios than low-impact variants, and a cup of coffee can create as little as 80g of Carbon dioxide or as much as 1.3kg, depending on production methods.

"Two things that look the same in the shops can have very different impacts on the planet", Joseph Poore said in a statement. This is a sector where we require many different solutions delivered to many millions of different producers'.

'Food production creates huge environmental burdens, but these are not a necessary outcome of our needs.

The researchers also suggest better communication to highlight to consumers the variation in environmental impact.

They took their data from 570 previously published papers containing food life-cycle analyses, which measure how much of the above parameters a crop produces, between being planted and arriving on the supermarket shelf.

Dr Peter Alexander, lecturer in Global Food Security at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the study, told Newsweek that the findings are "extremely comprehensive" and "highly impressive". "My personal opinion is we should interpret these results not as the need to become vegan overnight, but rather to moderate our [meat] consumption".

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