More Plants for the Planet!
Everyone has their reasons for going plant-based. I grew up eating mostly plant-based, eating some dairy here and there. Making the transition to fully plant-based and flexing sometimes depends on what's going on in my life (pregnancy, postpartum, training etc) has been easier for me than others.
Lately, going vegan has become a more popular lifestyle choice since there are so many mainstream alternatives to dairy and meat. Plant-based diets have a lot of health benefits, and save a lot of animal lives. Additionally, the focus on how consuming meat and dairy products affects the planet has also been a big factor for a lot of people.
In honor of #earth day, I wanted to talk about the specific benefits to the planet of opting for a diet of mostly plants.
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
One of the biggest benefits of going vegan is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The livestock industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for about 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the livestock industry produces more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined. Methane, which is produced by cows and other livestock, is a potent greenhouse gas that is 25 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
Another benefit of going vegan is the reduction in water usage. Animal agriculture is a very water-intensive industry, with some estimates suggesting that it takes up to 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef. In contrast, it only takes about 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat. By switching to a vegan diet, you can help to conserve water resources and reduce your impact on the planet.
Animal agriculture also contributes to deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats. The clearing of land for animal grazing and feed production has led to the loss of forests and other ecosystems, which has negative impacts on biodiversity and climate. By going vegan, you can help to preserve these vital ecosystems and protect the planet's natural resources.
Protection of biodiversity
The production of animal-based foods often leads to the destruction of natural habitats and the loss of biodiversity. By adopting a plant-based diet, we can help protect the diversity of life on our planet. Plant-based agriculture can be more sustainable and actually promote biodiversity by using crop rotation and other methods to promote soil health.
Reduced water pollution
Livestock waste can pollute water sources, leading to the proliferation of harmful algae and bacteria. By consuming fewer animal products, we can reduce the amount of animal waste that ends up in our waterways.
What about you?
One person who goes vegan can save approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year!
If you ate one less burger a week, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.
If you switched from using dairy milk to an alternative beverage, the level of greenhouse gases emitted would be 2/3 lower, or more!
A vegan diet requires about 75% less land than a diet that includes meta, dairy and eggs.
In addition to these environmental benefits, a diet that prioritizes more whole foods in the form of plants also has positive impacts on personal health and animal welfare. Vegan diets are often rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and have been linked to lower rates of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Vegan diets also eliminate the need for animal cruelty and exploitation, which is an ethical consideration for many people.
Let's not be tricked into thinking that our own choices can't make a difference. Choosing to eat more plants and less meat and dairy products, even one day a week is a powerful way to make a positive impact on the planet and your health. Give mother earth some love today, and every day by choosing more plants.