Some people choose a vegetarian or vegan diet to save the lives of animals, but these diets can also help save the world.

Veggie burger

That’s because raising livestock for food produces a lot of global warming pollution. As they digest their food, cows release methane, and their manure also generates nitrous oxide, and these are more potent heat-trapping gases than carbon dioxide.

So how much would it help if the world shifted to a more plant-based diet?

SPRINGMAN: “What was surprising was the sheer magnitude of the benefits.”

Marco Springman
Marco Springman

That’s Marco Springmann, a researcher at Oxford University. He found that if everyone followed dietary guidelines – which include limiting red meat – we could improve global health and cut more than a quarter of food-related emissions by the year 2050.

And the more we cut back on animal products, the more the benefits add up.

His study shows that a global switch to a vegan diet could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food by more than two-thirds.

Study: Reducing red meat consumption cuts carbon emissions Click To Tweet

Springmann understands it’s not realistic for the whole world to completely stop eating animal products. But his study underscores that food choices add up. So starting a meatless Monday tradition or ordering the veggie pizza can be healthier for you and the climate.

Reporting credit: Shawn Hopman/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Veggie burger photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Veggie-based Diets Could Save 8 million Lives by 2050 and Cut Global Warming
Analysis and Valuation of the Health and Climate Change Cobenefits of Dietary Change
A Vegetarian World Would be Healthier, Cooler, Richer

Topics: Food & Agriculture