By: Shelby Burns
Did you know that if everyone in the U.S. eliminated meat or cheese in their diet just one day a week and replace it with plant-based foods, it would have the same environmental impact as taking 7.6 million cars off the road?
When it comes to the plant-based diet benefits, every small action counts towards making a positive impact on our planet. Making the choice to eat more plant-based meals is a simple but powerful way to do your part.
Keep reading to learn more about the into the plant-based diet benefits for the environment and share some tips and tricks to help you make the transition. Are you ready to make a difference? Let's get started!
What is Sustainability?
Before we dive in, let's go back to the basics.
The UCLA Sustainability Committee defines sustainability as “the integration of environmental health, social equity, and economic vitality in order to create thriving, healthy, diverse and resilient communities for this generation and generations to come."
Simply put, the term sustainability refers to maintaining our planet and quality of life for others. However, our resources as limited. The goal is to meet the needs of our current society, yet be cautious to not completely exhaust our resources for the future.
Living sustainably refers to making conscious decisions to reduce your impact on the planet. This could be through a plant-based diet, reducing plastic usage, or taking public transportation.
What makes the greatest impact is if everyone were to start consciously taking small steps each day. If you are interested in living more sustainably and reducing climate change, here are two questions you can ask yourself:
- How can I reduce my carbon footprint? Think: plant-based, shopping local, and taking the bike or public transportation
- How can I reduce my products/waste? Think: say no to plastic packaged produce, have a reusable water bottle and coffee mug instead of using single-use plastics, and create a compost pile
If you are looking for even more inspiration on how you can live a more sustainable lifestyle, check out ALOHA's blog “23 Eco-Friendly Affirmations to Change your Life, Community, and the Planet.”
What are the Plant-Based Benefits for the Environment?
One of the greatest benefits to eating plant-based is that it can help conserve renewable resources and drastically reduce your carbon footprint.
According to a report from Standford University, "Reducing your meat and dairy consumption, even by a little, can have big impacts. If everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese just one day a week, it would have the same environmental impact as taking 7.6 million cars off the road.”
Meat production creates twice as many greenhouse gases as plant-based food production (theguardian.com), and also generates 15% of the globes greenhouse gas emissions.
If you think about all of the ways that plant-based eating is more sustainable, it makes sense! Animals require more land than plants; animals need land to graze, and more land is needed to grow feed for livestock.
More specifically, 80% of agricultural land is used for livestock, yet only 20% of our calorie intake from from animals (ourworldindata.org). As a society, we could conserve land usage with a greater focus on eating more plants and less animal products!
Plant-Based Diet Benefits for Water Conservation
An easy way to minimize negative environmental impact, is by eating more plant-based meals because it can conserve precious renewable resources of water and land.
Much like how livestock uses more land compared to plants, livestock agriculture also has a higher water usage compared to plant agriculture. Water is needed to grow the crops that feed livestock, to clean the facilities, to give as a lifesource for livestock, and for slaughter.
Water demand has increased 6x over the last century, and continues to rise. It is expected that by 2030, our global water supply and demand will reach 40%, according to the World Economic Forum.
One sector that can help reduce water usage is agriculture. By shifting limiting animal agriculture, and focusing heavier on plant agriculture, we are able to conserve our water usage during this critical time.
Is Becoming Plant-Based the Answer for Improving our Current Environmental Impact?
Let’s talk about plant-based diet benefits. There are numerous studies and statistics proving that a plant-based shift in society would drastically improve our environmental impact on the planet. Switching the focus from animal agriculture to plant agriculture helps conserve both land and water and reduces air pollution.
What we need is for more people to know what plant-based is and consider shifting their diets–which simply means lowering your meat and animal product intake and supplementing that with more plant foods! This is just one of many steps that we can take as a society to start going in the right direction for a sustainable future.
An easy way to support the environment is by choosing to eat ALOHA's nourishing plant-based protein bars, shakes, and powders. We support the planet with the use of 14g of plant-powered protein per bar and also by ALOHA becoming Climate Neutral Certified. Eat the way Mother Nature intended with a little help from ALOHA.
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