Giving up animal products is the most effective way to protect the planet
© 2016, Plant Based Living Initiative
Eating more plants and fewer animal products is the best thing one can do for the planet– that is according to one of the largest and most comprehensive analyses conducted to date.
Poore and Nemecek's paper, which was published last week in the prestigious journal Science, found that a global dietary transition to a strictly plant-based pattern of eating (i.e. excluding all products containing meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs) has the potential to:
Big project | 38,700 farms; 1,600 processors, packaging types, and retailers; 119 countries; 40 food items; 5 indicators of planetary health.
The project's researchers, Poore and Nemecek, conducted a large meta-analysis of studies investigating the impact of food on the environment. Their 'methodologically-harmonised' database, which includes 570 individual studies, covers 40 food items (representing 90% of global energy intake) and spans 119 countries, 38,700 farms, and 1,600 processors, packaging types, and retailers.
A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use... It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car... Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems. Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.”
Joseph Poore, University of Oxford (Speaking with the Guardian)
Author: Jono Drew
Founder, Plant-Based Living Initiative
June 10, 2018
One of the study's most significant findings relates to the marked discrepancy between environmental impacts of plant- and animal-based food items: even the most sustainably produced animal products tend to carry a significantly greater environmental burden as compared to plant-based alternatives. The discrepancy is such that production of meat, fish, eggs and dairy currently occupies 83% of the world's agricultural land and releases 58% of food-related emissions, while only providing 18% of the global population's calories.
Topic / Planetary Health
Meat consumption, the planet, and our health
Grass-fed Beef /
Grass-fed beef is not the solution: it's the problem
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Producers have limits on how far they can reduce impacts. Most strikingly, impacts of the lowest-impact animal products typically exceed those of vegetable substitutes, providing new evidence for the importance of dietary change.
Poore and Nemecek, 2018
Open Access /
Reducing food's environmental impacts through producers and consumers
J. Poore & T. Nemecek
'Graphical representation of the mitigation framework' /
J. Poore and T. Nemecek
A framework for mitigating food-related environmental impacts
Poore and Nemecek's paper highlights mitigation opportunities currently available within the food system, which, if pursued, could lead to significant harm reduction across a range of environmental parameters. In an effort to stimulate radical change, the paper's authors outline a framework for seizing such opportunities, which is summarised below: