One of the most effective things we can do to lower our carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products.
The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved.
The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction – in Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans to feed farmed animals in Europe.
Considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet. We have a lot of power when making our everyday choices – and switching to living vegan is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment.
Meat and dairy production emit more nitrogen than Earth can cope with
“The overwhelming bulk of the emissions, 68 per cent, comes from crops grown to feed animals, followed by nitrogen released by the build-up and management of manure.”
New Research Says Plant-based Diet Best for Planet and People
“These links are real and strong and not just the mutterings of food lovers and environmental advocates.”
Dutch cow poo overload causes an environmental stink
The nation’s 1.8 million cows are producing so much manure that there isn’t enough space to get rid of it safely. As a result, farmers are dumping cow poo illegally, the country is breaking EU regulations on phosphates designed to prevent groundwater contamination, and the high levels of ammonia emissions are affecting air quality.
New estimates of the environmental cost of food
“Animal product free diets deliver greater environmental benefits than purchasing sustainable meat or dairy.”
Diet and the environment: does what you eat matter?
“From an environmental perspective, what a person chooses to eat makes a difference.”
Climate change food calculator: What's your diet's carbon footprint?
“Meat and other animal products are responsible for more than half of food-related greenhouse gas emissions, despite providing only a fifth of the calories we eat and drink.”
Multimillion pound beef washing conspiracy means Amazon's rainforest destroyed so the world can eat meat
“To put it simply - the Amazon is being destroyed so we can eat beef.”
What is the lowest-carbon protein?
“The lowest emissions option would be to adopt a vegan diet and cut out meat and dairy altogether. If the whole world went vegan, global food-related emissions would fall by up to 70% by 2050.”
Yes, plant-based meat is better for the planet
The environmental debate over meatless meat, explained.
British chicken driving deforestation in Brazil’s “second Amazon”
Soya used to feed UK livestock linked to industrial-scale destruction of vital tropical woodland
Organic meat production just as bad for climate, study finds
Analysis also found the lowest impact meat was still far more damaging than the worst plant foods. “This analysis confirms the high costs that animal-source foods have for the planet.”
Learn how factory farming is decimating the planet's natural resources – and why this crisis has been largely ignored by major environmental groups.
Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers
“Impacts of the lowest-impact animal products typically exceed those of vegetable substitutes, providing new evidence for the importance of dietary change.”
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is mostly abandoned fishing gear
“Fishing nets account for 46 percent of the trash, with the majority of the rest composed of other fishing industry gear.”
EU's farm animals 'produce more emissions than cars and vans combined'
“Science is clear, the numbers as well: we can’t avoid the worst of climate breakdown if politicians keep defending the industrial production of meat and dairy. Farm animals won’t stop farting and burping – the only way to cut emissions at the levels needed is to cut their numbers.”
This is how many animals we eat each year
The environmental cost of our growing appetite for meat is alarming. Meat farming produces much higher emissions per calorie than vegetables. But it is not just the greenhouse gases produced by livestock that damage the environment.
The hidden world of soya
It’s not just vegetarians who eat it – the average European consumer eats 61kg of soya per year. How is this possible?
Want to stop plastic polluting the oceans? Stop eating fish
“Conservative estimates suggest 640,000 to 800,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost annually worldwide”
BBC News, January 2019
“Producing a glass of dairy milk results in almost three times the greenhouse gas emissions of any non-dairy milks, according to a University of Oxford study.”
CNN, April 2017
Go Vegan, Save The Planet: “The contribution of the livestock sector to global greenhouse gas emissions exceeds that of transportation.”
iNews, January 2019
If all of us went vegan, greenhouse gas emissions would fall by more than a third
The Guardian, December 2018
“Eating meat has a hefty impact on the environment, from fueling climate change to polluting landscapes and waterways”
The Guardian, May 2018
Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth
Is soya destroying the planet?
“The vast majority of the world’s soya is destined for animal feed for livestock. More than 30 million tonnes of soya are imported into Europe every year purely for livestock.”
The Guardian, October 2017
Vast animal-feed crops to satisfy our meat needs are destroying the planet
Livestock's Long Shadow
A UN report from 2006. “Livestock's contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale… so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency.”