Why vegan is the most sustainable diet? We have all heard about the impact our lifestyles have on our planet. Moreover, we expect our population to increase to 10 billion people in the next 30 years.
According to the United Nations report in 2006:
“The world will need to produce about 50% more food by 2050 to feed the growing world population, assuming no changes occur in food loss and waste. Shifting to healthy diets that include sustainability considerations can contribute to reductions in environmental impacts on land, energy and water use. A diet that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods, has a lower environmental impact (greenhouse gas emissions and energy, land, and water use).”
Fast forward to 2022, we know that industrialised animal agriculture is now the second largest cause of environmental destruction.
Animal farming destroys our forests, marine life, pollutes the waterways, and adds harmful greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.
Moreover, it causes species extinction, biodiversity destruction and ocean dead zones.
What about the animals we kill for food?
According to scientists, animals are intelligent creatures. Researchers who study animal cognition agree that animals “think”. They perceive and react to their environment.
Animals can suffer as much as humans do. They feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, affection and create family bonds.
When under captivity in factory farms, animals are reduced to “livestock”. Farmers pay the costs associated with the animals’ upkeep.
It is, therefore, in their interest to keep these costs down to increase their profits. Their business grows the cheaper and faster the animals go through the slaughterhouses.
This is why animal welfare violations are on a high, along with the poor nutritional quality of meat and dairy products.
How sustainable do you think this uncontrolled race to produce and kill more and more animals can be?
Is vegan the most sustainable diet of the future?
The world has lost over 130m hectares of rainforests since 1990 and we lose dozens of species every day, pushing the Earth’s ecological system to its limit.
Shockingly we still clear one acre of land every second to accommodate animals for farming.
- The Earth consists of 29% land and 71% water.
- Of which, 71% is habitable ground and 29% glaciers and barren land.
- To put this into perspective: 10 centuries ago, we estimate that people used less than 4% of useful land (ice-free and fertile) for farming.
- Today it is estimated that 50% of all habitable land is used for agriculture, with people occupying only 1% of this land for their habitat (cities, villages etc.).
According to ourworldindate.org:
“There is also a highly unequal distribution of land use between livestock and crops for human consumption. If we combine pastures used for grazing with land used to grow crops for animal feed, livestock accounts for 77% of global farming land. While livestock takes up most of the world’s agricultural land, it only produces 18% of the world’s calories and 37% of total protein.“
Many experts agree that the uncontrollable acquiring of land for animal farming and growing crops to feed these animals has impacted the environment immensely.
How can our diet be more sustainable?
Nevertheless, humanity has the capacity to create technological advancements for the farmers to transition into more efficient land and water use.
To create a sustainable and cruelty-free future, the governments will eventually look to subsidise industries that use fewer natural resources and respect the land’s biodiversity.
These changes, of course, come at a cost. Factories, farmers, and fisheries need the governments’ support to diversify into producing food and supplies not dependent on livestock.
Subsidies will help these industries to acquire new skills, technologies, machinery, and production know-how to adjust to a kinder and sustainable way of farming.
In the meantime, all of us have the power to shape the world for us and the future generations – one vegan meal at a time!
Images by ED.