In landmark new research, scientists from Oxford University have revealed that maintaining a vegan diet is the most effective way to reduce your environmental impact.
“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on the planet Earth,” Oxford scientist Joseph Poore recently told The Guardian.
“Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this [environmental damage]. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.”
Mr Poore also revealed that plant-based lifestyles can have a far greater impact on the environment, even when compared with reducing air-travel or buying electric cars.
Vegan diet is the ‘single biggest way’ to reduce environmental impacts:
Mr Poore and his research team assessed the environmental impact of the world’s food and drink consumption, in relation to the damage caused by animal agriculture. Their findings were published in the preeminent journal Science.
According to their research, the world’s meat and dairy industries only provide 18% of calories and 37% of protein sources that our population consumes. However, a shocking 83% of the world’s viable farmland is occupied by these destructive animal agricultural activities.
The meat and dairy industries are also responsible for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions related to animal agriculture, outstripping the globe’s total transport infrastructure.
Researchers concluded that ‘going vegan’ could reduce destructive animal agriculture industries by 75%, whilst maintaining sufficient food resources to sustain the global population.
The Oxford team analysed this data alongside the hypothetical scenario of a ‘vegan world’ (#goals).
Their research surveyed 38 700 commercially viable farms in 199 countries, and the environmental footprint of 40 staple food products – which currently constitute 90% of the world’s protein and caloric consumption.
Ultimately, the study’s objective was to determine whether it was possible to produce animal products with a lower environmental impact – or if the world would be better-placed if everyone simply maintained plant-based diet.
The results were undeniable – a ‘vegan world’ would undoubtedly reduce the strain on our environment and natural resources – with Mr Poore issuing a dire warning:
“Though dietary change is realistic for any individual, widespread behavioural change will be hard to achieve in the narrow timeframe remaining to limit global warming and prevent future irreversible biodiversity loss.”
How can we bring about a ‘vegan world’ today? Leave your thoughts in the comments below: