Sustainable Effects of Eating a Plant-Based Diet

By Ariana Nieves,
Marketing Coordinator
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)

photo of buddha bowl with veggies and quinoaSustainable alternatives and ways of living are appearing everywhere. There are so many options now to start living a sustainable lifestyle such as: buying eco-friendly products, reusing materials, recycling, planting gardens, etc. Now there are even ways to live sustainably through food! Plant-based diets are on the rise as research studies indicate they can significantly improve the effects of climate change.

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

Eating plant-based focuses on food derived from plants such as fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grains, beans, oils, and legumes. Plant-based diets do not need to be synonymous with veganism or vegetarian lifestyles.

Eating plant-based simply focuses on incorporating more plant-derived foods with the goal of proportionally choosing these options more than meat or dairy products. Choosing to begin a plant-based diet could be as simple as choosing one day a week to avoid meat and dairy.

The Meat and Dairy Industry’s Effect on Climate Change

Research studies show that the meat and dairy industries are becoming increasingly harmful to the environment. It was found that in one year alone animal farming creates the same amount of carbon emissions as the entire transportation segment.

Additionally, researchers discovered meat and dairy industries utilize one-third of the planet’s freshwater. It takes anywhere from 2,000-8,000 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. Similarly, 1,950 gallons of water are required to obtain one gallon of cow’s milk.

The meat and dairy industries are severely impacting the Earth with their growing emissions. It was found that emission growth is not being regulated and is now reaching dangerous levels. Currently, the five biggest meat and dairy manufacture’s “emit more combined greenhouse gases than ExxonMobil, Shell, or BP.”  At this rate, it is projected that in 2050, meat and dairy will make up “80% of the budgeted greenhouse gas emissions” for the country.

How Eating Plant-Based Can Help the Planet

Choosing to eat plant-based can significantly help to reduce and offset the carbon emissions generated by the meat and dairy industry. If each person in the U.S chose to eat meat-free and dairy-free for one day a week, “it would have the same environmental impact as taking 7.6 million cars off the road.”

Additionally, the plant industry utilizes less water in comparison with meat and dairy. One pound of tofu only requires 302 gallons of water to produce. By eating plant-based untouched habitats can be preserved and less water pollution and utilization would be generated.

It was also found that plant-based diets “can add up to 49% to the global food supply without expanding croplands.” This way of eating would also reduce livestock in the meat and dairy industry which would significantly aid in reducing methane emissions as well.

Overall, eating a plant-based diet is not only good for you but it is also good for the Earth. If you are interested in trying out a plant-based diet, take a look at some of these delicious recipes:


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