New Study: Plant-Based Diet May Save Planet

Human consumption of animal products is one of the most powerful destroyers of ecosystems and biological diversity.


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A new study slated for a December release in Science of the Total Environment reports that adopting plant-based diets instead of animal-based diets can significantly reduce ecosystem destruction and loss of biodiversity while benefiting human health. “Human carnivory is likely the leading cause of modern species extinctions, since it is not only the major driver of deforestation but also a principle driver of land degradation, pollution, climate change, overfishing, sedimentation of coastal areas, facilitation of invasions by alien species, and loss of wild carnivores and wild herbivores,” the study says. One of the study’s graphics shows that carbon dioxide emissions are almost 60 times higher for free range, grass-fed beef than for beans, peas, and soy per kilogram, and 25 times higher for feedlot-produced beef than beans. “Ideally,” the study says, plant-based diets will constitute “a global average of 90 percent of food consumed” to slow the adverse effects of animal-based diets, even accounting for a three billion-person population increase. Given extensive evidence that “diets based largely on plant foods are associated with health and longevity and shifts toward diets richer in animal products often lead to less-healthy populations,” scientific studies increasingly prove that vegan diets are best for the environment, human health, and animals.