By George McKay
Go green by eating your greens!
Eating a vegan diet puts a huge dent in the environmental damage cause by food production, according to the most comprehensive analysis of the issue to date.
According to the study, a vegan diet results in 75% less emissions, water pollution and land use when compared with more meat-heavy diets.
As if that weren’t enough, vegan diets also curtail the destruction of wildlife by 66% and water use by 54%, according to the study.
As reported by The Guardian, the new study was conducted by analysing the real diets of around 55,000 people in the UK, as well as data from 38,000 farms in 119 countries.
This methodology accounted for the different impacts particular foods have in different places, and accounted for the way they were produced in those places.
Taking into account these variables has reportedly significantly improved confidence in the outcomes of the study.
It shouldn’t really come as a surprise at this point to say that eating meat and dairy isn’t great for the planet, with the biggest meat-hungry countries in the world urged to cut their carnivorous consumption in order to curb climate catastrophe.
Professor Peter Scarborough of Oxford University, who led on this latest research, said: “Our dietary choices have a big impact on the planet. Cutting down the amount of meat and dairy in your diet can make a big difference to your dietary footprint.”
Low-meat diets do reportedly cut emissions, water pollution and land use, but the differences between low-meat, pescetarian and vegetarian diets are remarkably small.
Professor Richard Tiffin of the University of Reading said: “This study represents the most comprehensive attempt to link food consumption data to the data on the environmental impacts of food production.
“Encouraging high-meat-eaters to reduce meat consumption and encouraging vegetarians to become vegans should result in lower emissions. However, it’s hard to justify changes to the diets of moderate omnivores on the basis of these results, other than to switch to a completely vegan diet.”
The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change recommended in 2020 that consumers should be empowered to make environmentally conscious decisions about their diets via mandatory labelling of environmental impacts of food products.
Farming minister Mark Spencer said last week that he would like to see genetically modified cows that emit less methane.
Either way, it seems the evidence is clear, and veganism is the diet of the future.