How What You Eat Helps the Planet

Many people are choosing to eat more plant-based foods and less meat in order to improve their health, lower their risk of disease, and help animals. In honor of Earth Day, we present another compelling reason to put more veg food on your menu: helping the environment.

According to senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization official Henning Steinfeld, “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems.”

 

Here are 4 ways that you help the planet when you choose plant-based foods instead of animals:

 

1. Slow Global Warming

According to a United Nations report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, animal agriculture generates 18 percent of net greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined. Research published in the journal Climatic Change found that a global transition toward low-meat diets could reduce the costs of climate change relief by as much as 50%.

2. Reduce Rainforest Destruction

The United Nations has estimated 70 percent of the Amazon rainforests that has been destroyed is used for grazing livestock (and according to World Bank, it could be as high as 88%).

3. Lessen Pollution

The EPA reports that roughly 80 percent of ammonia emissions in the United States come from animal waste. Atmospheric ammonia can disrupt aquatic ecosystems, ruin soil quality, damage crops, and jeopardize human health.

4. Cut Back on Waste

According to the GAO, about 130 times more excrement is produced from factory farms than  human waste across the entire country. That is roughly 5 tons of feces and urine from factory farms for every single U.S. citizen. Just one factory farm can produce as much waste as an entire city. These large volumes of waste degrade surface water and groundwater quality in the event of waste spills, leakage from waste storage facilities, and runoff from fields.

These are just a few of the ways you are making the world a better place when you choose plant-based foods!
 

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