"Eating a vegan diet massively reduces the damage to the environment caused by
food production, the most comprehensive analysis to date has concluded.
The research showed that vegan diets resulted in 75% less climate-heating
emissions, water pollution and land use than diets in which more than 100g of
meat a day was eaten. Vegan diets also cut the destruction of wildlife by 66%
and water use by 54%, the study found.
The heavy impact of meat and dairy on the planet is well known, and people in
rich nations will have to slash their meat consumption in order to end the
climate crisis. But previous studies have used model diets and average values
for the impact of each food type.
In contrast, the new study analysed the real diets of 55,000 people in the UK.
It also used data from 38,000 farms in 119 countries to account for differences
in the impact of particular foods that are produced in different ways and
places. This significantly strengthens confidence in the conclusions.
However, it turned out that what was eaten was far more important in terms of
environmental impacts than where and how it was produced. Previous research has
shown that even the lowest-impact meat – organic pork – is responsible for
eight times more climate damage than the highest-impact plant, oilseed.
The researchers said the UK should introduce policies to help people reduce the
amount of meat they eat in order to meet the nation’s climate targets.
Ministers have repeatedly said they will not tell people what to consume,
despite the precedent of, for example, taxes on high-sugar drinks."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics