A new study conducted by researchers at Oxford University and published in environmental journal Science found that following a plant-based diet is “the single biggest way” to reduce global environmental destruction. In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, researchers spent five years compiling data from nearly 40,000 farms in 119 countries and examining the environmental impact of producing 40 foods—which amount to 90 percent of all food eaten on earth. “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,” the study’s lead author Joseph Poore—who transitioned to veganism one year into the study—said. Poore’s team found that the meat and dairy industries are responsible for 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and that if individuals removed animal products from their diets, they would reduce their carbon footprint by 73 percent. The researchers also found that if meat and dairy production were to cease, global farmland use would be reduced by 75 percent. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car, which would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Poore said. “Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.” Poore’s findings support those of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations which found that animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined.
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