We live in a world that runs off efficiency and productivity. Everyone wants to save money and move quickly. This idea is especially prevalent in the food industry. In the United States, a majority of foods bought in grocery stores have preservatives. Bread lasts longer, microwavable meals are cheap and can last months, and fruits are sprinkled with lemon juice to keep them from browning. The purpose of this is to save money by producing less amounts and is followed by Americans struggling with their diet. But, this way of living isn’t helping man nor the earth. The average diet includes a lot of meat, which has been proven to be causing a drastic increase in gas emissions. For man, this diet has led to an increase in type two diabetes, heart problems, and cancer. So what can be done to prevent increasing gas emissions and improve health? A plant based diet. A plant based diet has been proven by research to decrease gas emissions released from food relations and increase health.
“New Research Says Plant-based Diet Best for Planet and People”
- “diets in 2050 will contain fewer servings of fruits and vegetables, about 60 percent more empty calories and 25 to 50 percent more pork, poultry, beef, dairy and eggs. These are changes that are known to increase the prevalence of type II diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers.”
- if current trends prevail, these 2050 diets would also lead to an 80 percent increase in global greenhouse gas emissions from food production as well as habitat destruction due to land clearing for agriculture around the world.
- “While the difference in greenhouse gas emissions for animal-based versus plant-based foods is well known, emissions per gram of protein for beef and lamb are about 250 times those of legumes; pork, chicken, dairy, and fish have much lower emissions”
- If we change our diets, the likelihood of getting illnesses such as type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cancers will decrease (Smith). In addition to benefiting health, a plant based diet will help the earth by decreasing global greenhouse gas emissions from food production (Smith).
“Change your diet to combat climate change in 2019”
- “Springmann’s study found that the production of animal products generates the majority of food-related greenhouse-gas emissions — specifically, up to 78% of total agricultural emissions.”
- “The feed-related impacts of animal products also contribute to freshwater use and pressures on cropland, as well as nitrogen and phosphorus application, which over time could lead to dead zones in oceans, low-oxygen areas where few organisms can survive, according to Springmann.”
- If we continue the current diets, we can cause less survivable environments for organisms (Drayer). Food production causes up to 78% of the total agricultural emissions.
“The Greenest Act”
- “report concludes by noting that because agriculture uses 70% of the global fresh water supply, changes to our food production will offer the greatest potential for relief from water scarcity.”
- “Noting that there are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and an estimated 2 billion more are expected by 2050”
- “Farmed animals produce 130 times more excrement than the human population and, due to lax or nonexistent procedures for animal waste treatment, the run-off from their waste is fouling America’s waterways.”
- A plant based diet will offer the most relief on global freshwater supply as agriculture uses 70% of it (Rose). Farm animals use “130 times more excrement” then humans. Their waste is also polluting our fresh waters.
“How Eating More Plants Can Save Lives and the Planet”
- Eating more plants and fewer animal products could prevent 10.9 to 11.6 million premature deaths from heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions every year, according to the researchers.
- Producing just a pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water.
- if Americans ate more beans and less beef, we would require 42 percent less cropland.
Plant-based diet can fight climate change – UN
- “The panel estimates that greenhouse emissions associated with food loss and waste – from field to kitchen bin – is as high as 8-10% of ALL global emissions.”
- “A UK-based group called #NoBeef lobbies caterers to take beef and lamb off student menus.”
In conclusion, a plant based diet can have a major impact on the wellbeing of humans and the earth. We can prevent the deaths of over ten million individuals just by switching to a meat free diet. America would require less than 42% cropland, decrease global greenhouse emissions, and prevent freshwater waste. A national plant based diet can be achieved by making it mandatory for all restaurants and stores to offer plant-based diet meals. The UK is already ahead of this with the group #Nobeef, who advocate for the removal of beef and lamb on student menus. As an individual, you can help yourself and the environment by switching to a plant-based diet. Greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase as world population advances and more food will need to be produced. This is the only chance we have until 2050 to make a change for the future. A plant-based diet can give individuals the power to do something themselves that will have a lasting impact. I have personally slowly began switching to a plant-based diet. I originally began the diet due to health concerns. My doctor believes everyone should be on a plant-based diet because it does nothing but make your body function better for the long term. Since switching, I feel a lot better as I no longer have processed “junk” in my body. I also enjoy my plant-based diet because I know I am doing something that helps the environment. I may not be able to prevent the hole in the O-zone from progressing, but I can certainly cut down my personal greenhouse gas emission. Just like me, you can switch to a plant-based diet as well. Stores like Whole Foods and Mother’s can make this transition easy as they offer a plethora of plant-based options. If you don’t believe the Earth needs help, then at least change to a plant based diet for you. The time to make change is now.