Letter: The environmental impact of your diet
A plant-based diet has far less environmental impact than the standard American diet consisting of meat, dairy, and eggs. In fact, the SAD is a leading contributor to climate change. Animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all transportation means in the world and significantly contributes to water depletion, ocean dead zones, land usage, deforestation as well as species extinction. A plant-based diet cleans the air, conserves water, and uses energy more efficiently.
Animal agriculture is responsible for more than two-thirds of all freshwater consumption in the world. Additionally, it is predicted our oceans will be fishless by 2050 due to overfishing and ocean dead zones. The livestock manure runoff causes eutrophication in lakes, rivers, and oceans. Excessive minerals and nutrients cause an algae overgrowth that depletes oxygen levels killing ocean life. Studies indicate that the vegetarian diet has lower freshwater and marine eutrophication.
Rampant deforestation is causing irreparable climate change advancement. Currently, 800 million people do not have enough to eat, while 45 percent of the Earth’s land is used for livestock. Because the human population is expected to reach 9-11 billion by 2050, we will not have enough arid land to sustain everyone on an animal-based diet. Another danger linked to deforestation is species extinction. We are losing more than 30,000 species per year. At least one hundred animal and plant species are killed each day in the Amazon rainforest.
A plant-based diet is proven to have a significantly less environmental impact than a standard American diet. Let this be evidence enough for a global mindset shift about our food system and personal diets that motivates us all towards a sustainable plant-based diet.
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