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

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

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: 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

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...