With US President Donald Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, it has never become more important to work as individuals to lower our impact on the environment. There are many ways to help lower your carbon footprint, from recycling to turning off lights, and all of this does help substantially and should not be shunned. However, one of the best and most effective ways to accomplish this, is by foregoing animal products.
Animal agriculture is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, and methane. Beef is a primary factor, but other foods, such as pork and even dairy, are large emitters. The livestock industry alone accounts for 14% of the global emissions (and 85% of methane emissions), and this is due to the growing demand for meat-based diets by countries like America and most of the first world.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that if everyone decided to go vegan, that could reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70%. This can help greatly is the fight to keep the global rise in temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius. This simple raise in temperatures can increase storms, heighten the ocean water level, and cause a ton of damage to temperature sensitive crops. Reducing issues involved in climate change, as well as lowering death and disease rates, can save upwards of 30 trillion dollars globally.
Even minor changes to your diet can be highly beneficial, with vegetarian diets reducing food-related emissions by 63%. The primary goal is advocating for the elimination of animal products altogether, to get as much of a reduction as possible.
All one has to do to reduce their impact, is to replace a cheeseburger for a veggie burger and some chicken wings for buffalo cauliflower wings. That is really all there is to it. It’s not a hard or even that dramatic shift in lifestyle, but until more options become available for vegans of all kinds, we will probably never see that ultimate change. However, as veganism is on the rise, more and more benefits will bee seen as a result.