The cheapest and easiest method of bringing about a reduction of the human impact on our environment is by consuming less meat. An essentially wasteful, energy-and-land demanding farming system lies at the core of the majority of the joints of chicken or beef that we eat. This system of farming relies on coal and oil (which are fossil fuels), pollutes rivers, seas, oceans, and air and has devastating effects on forests. Furthermore, it is largely responsible for climate change.
The United Nations, scientists, economists, as well as politicians, have now validated the notion that our method of breeding animals cause a rise of several inter-linked human and ecological issues. However, with one billion persons already lacking sufficient food to eat and three billion more people to feed within five decades, it has never been more urgent for us to take another look at our relationship with animals.
Proponents of vegan diets are wont to backing their stance on vegetarianism with the widely held notion that cutting our consumption of meat promotes our health so that they can influence more people. In the same vein, activists of climate change are quick to cite the pressure which animal products exert on the environment, in a bid to clamor for improved practices. A new study has now been published in the journal of PNAS, which merges these 2 lines of thought to conclude that the prevalent adoption of vegetarian as well as vegan diets has a huge potential of saving millions of human lives and cutting unnecessary expenses up to one trillion in dollars.
The research, which was authored by Marco Springmann from Oxford University, avers that the discovery is essential not only from a health and environmental perspectives but also from an economic viewpoint. As part of the methodology of this study, researchers examined 4 various cases, where humans eat different quantities of meat, to determine the connections between diet, health and the environment. According to the study, the smallest quantity of meat consumption, which is a prevalent adoption of a vegan diet, has the potential to assist in preventing over eight million deaths by 2050. A vegetarian diet could save over 7 million of lives.
These experts also added that the effects of a change in diet on the environment could also be great. Livestock alone is responsible for over fourteen percent global greenhouse gas emissions. The food sector, by 2050, could account for fifty percent if cuts are put in place in other sectors — this possibility can become a reality due to the commitment of over 180 countries in the Paris Agreement to cut the use of fossil fuels drastically. A vegetarian or vegan diet has the potential of bringing about a reduction in the emissions by sixty-three percent and seventy percent, accordingly.
Lastly, the practice of consuming meat spoils the oceans. The Gulf of Mexico faces the challenge of oil pollution. Also, mostly during the summer, between thirteen thousand (13000) and twenty thousand (20000) square km of these at the mouth of the Mississippi turns to a dead zone. This condition is occasioned by the sweeping down of large amounts of excess nutrients got from sewage, animal waste, factory farms and fertilizer into the vast river. This leads to the development of algal blooms that use up all the oxygen in the river up to the extent that only a small population of the creatures in the water can survive.