Back in August 2015, we decided to turn vegetarian; or, more honestly, to make a conscious effort at reducing, if not eliminating, our consumption of meat.
Apart from it being a healthier option, the reason was largely linked to our desire to have an impact. Being carnivores, it seemed like a good way to #startwithsomething. Surprisingly, our diet shift has been easier than imagined, however we will not deny the occasional burger, jamón, roast, or biryani craving.
Since we have taken the first step of cutting out all red and white meat (with the exception of fish on occasion), we have been increasingly interested in knowing the impact of giving up our delicious burgers. The research out there, although buried and not entirely consistent, has been an incredible eye-opener to how much our planet is in trouble if we don’t reduce our meat consumption.
Animal agriculture is a huge driver of climate change that contributes to approximately 15% of green house gas emissions, which, according to some sources, is not far from emissions from all transportation put together.
A recent research report published in PNAS claims to be the first study to estimate the impact of shifting to a more plant-based diet on health, the environment and the economy. It estimates the impact of four diets with varying meat intake, up to 2050.
It claims that:
- If the world went vegetarian, food-related emissions would reduce by 63%
- If everyone turned vegan,food-related emissions would reduce by 70%
- If everyone turned vegan, mortality numbers would reduce by 8.1 million lives
- Dietary shifts towards less meat consumption would save $700 billion to $1 trillion per year on healthcare, unpaid care and lost working days
- The economic benefit of reduced greenhouse gas emissions could be as much as $570 billion
These are just a few numbers from one report that present a convincing case towards vegetarianism.
Most of the evidence out there is dominant in the form of research reports. Although hard to completely grasp in one read, and even harder to summarise, we hope to shed light on the salient features of the research we find, with the objective of increasing awareness of the impact of meat consumption on the planet.
We hope this will encourage you to consider a dietary shift for a cleaner, more sustainable environment. If you, like us, don’t have something to start making an impact with, this is a great place to begin. You will be healthier and you will help make the world more sustainable.
If you can point us somewhere, please do. If you have an opinion on this, please share it!