Eating for the Environment
Environmental Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
The planet has been in a state of crisis for decades. A rapidly growing population has resulted in widespread deforestation, air pollution, and water contamination, to name just a few problems. Unfortunately, the most pressing environmental issues result from dietary choices.
If you’re conscious about the environment, you might have thought about cutting down on meat to reduce your carbon footprint. But did you know that plant-based diets are also better for the environment? Read on to know the environmental benefits of this diet.
Decreases Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Studies have indicated that, on average, animal-based foods are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions per pound than plant-based foods. This is because animals emit methane and nitrous oxide through their digestive processes. Animal-based foods also require more energy to produce than plant-based foods.
Switching to a plant-based diet can help decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, helping to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. They also require less land and water to produce. This helps to conserve energy resources, as well as decrease soil erosion and water pollution. With some scientists predicting that an increase in greenhouse gas emissions will lead to more changes in the climate, a plant-based diet can help reverse these changes.
According to the US Water Conservation Association, it takes approximately 660 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef - that’s nearly 200 showers worth! In comparison, it only takes about 150 gallons of water to produce one pound of potatoes. This information is even more staggering when you consider that a person who eats less meat saves about 100,000 gallons over their lifetime. In other words: the greener your plate, the greener your shower.
Minimizes Deforestation and Biodiversity Loss
Deforestation and biodiversity loss are two major environmental issues today. The need to increase agricultural production, at least partially caused by a growing population and rising meat consumption, is causing significant environmental damage. Cattle ranchers often clear large swaths of rainforest to graze livestock or grow soybeans, a key ingredient in animal feed. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), over 70 percent of global deforestation is because of livestock production.
A plant-based diet can reduce these happenings because plants require a smaller area of land for farming. Vegetables are also more environmentally friendly because they require less energy-intensive inputs, such as fertilizers and pesticides, during production.
In a world with growing populations and increasing food insecurity, it’s essential to consider the environmental impact of the food choices you make daily. With a lot of barley, maize and soybeans used to feed livestock, a meat-based diet deprives hungry people of food. Today, nearly one billion people are starving and lack vital micronutrients.
Switching to a plant-based diet means saving lives. A recent study found that if Americans ate beans instead of beef for just one day per week, the US would immediately save enough grain to feed hundreds of millions of people. And apart from just alleviating hunger, a plant-based diet can meet nutritional needs, lower the risk of chronic illnesses and improve personal health.
Promotes Healthier Soils
A great amount of food that humans and animals depend on comes from the soil. It’s a necessity for the survival of the human and animal race. One way to reduce the negative impact on soils is through a plant-based diet. When you eat more plants, you’ll reduce the use of fertilizers because plants are natural fertilizers. You’ll also reduce your impact on water supplies because plant-based diets require less water to produce than meat and dairy products.
A vegan lifestyle also reduces the pollution of water bodies. According to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, runoff from fertilizers and animal waste can cause harmful algal blooms, which can contaminate drinking water. This kind of contamination is dangerous because it can also affect the air you breathe and your health.
Preserves Natural Resources
Meat and dairy production requires an enormous amount of resources, including land and water to produce. For example, the production of one pound of beef requires a lot of feed grain, thousands of gallons for irrigation to grow that feed crop and to water the animal, and over one-third of a gallon of gas to transport the feed to farms.
On the contrary, plant-based foods require very few resources to produce and, thus, naturally lead to a more sustainable diet. For instance, there is no need for irrigation when crops are grown on rainforest land because they get water from the sky and nutrients from composting leaves rather than synthetic fertilizers.
The Bottom Line
Conserving the environment should be in everyone’s best interest. The easiest way to do so is by making dietary choices that have a low environmental impact. A well-planned vegan diet has a much smaller environmental footprint than other dietary choices. So, if you care about the environment, consider a plant-based diet.
It's time to make a more positive impact on the environment and your life. Our 100% plant-based Jerky is the first step on your journey to better health, bigger adventures, creating a more sustainable future, and changing your life.