"A landmark global study into the production of greenhouse gas emissions from over 38,000 farms has pointed to one simple way we can reduce our global warming woes — by avoiding meat and dairy products. The paper published in Science today shows that without these industries, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75 per cent. That’s an area the size of Australia, the US, China and the EU combined. And what’s more, the study shows we don’t even really need meat anyway.
The researchers claim meat and dairy provide just 18 per cent of our required calories and 37 per cent of our protein. Despite the pitiful nutritional figures, the livestock industry accounts for a massive 83 per cent of farmland in the world and produces 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in farming. The study shows that getting our protein from plants such as peas is far better for the environment than farming livestock. Even the lowest impact beef-producing farm would be responsible for six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land than a pea farm producing the same amount of protein.
A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification (of ocean water), eutrophication (the build up of nutrients in water bodies which destroys wildlife), land use and water use,” Oxford University researcher Joseph Poore told The Guardian today.
Over all, the researchers estimated a vegan world would produce 49 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions from food, 50 per cent less acidification, 49 per cent less eutrophication, and reduce water use by 19 per cent. “It (going vegan) is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” Mr Poore added. “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."