If you’ve spent any time researching a plant-based diet, then you’ll have encountered at least a few statistics on the differences between plant-based diets and traditional diets when it comes to how they affect the environment. Here at 22 Days, we would like to dig a little deeper to help everyone understand just how remarkable a plant-based diet, or even minor changes to a meat-based diet, could be a help to our planet.
1. Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions
CO2 is a major polluter and dramatically harms our environment by adding to the greenhouse effect and causing global warming. If you convert to a plant-based diet, you could save 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide per year – that’s nearly 10% of the annual carbon dioxide created per person in the United States.
Even if you’re not enthusiastic about cutting meat and animal products out entirely, eating just one or two less meaty meals per week could make a significant difference. It’s estimated that a meat-based diet creates seven times more greenhouse gas emissions than one that’s plant based, so embracing Meatless Mondays could mean a lot to Mother Earth.
2. Conserve Water
Droughts are a huge concern in many parts of the world – did you know that ½ of all the water used in the U.S. goes towards animals? It might seem hyperbolic, but it’s true. Consider that besides providing animals water to drink we also use water to feed them and clean out pens, and during the production of the meat.
When you consider that it takes about 2400 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat, it’s not hard to imagine how much water you could save by cutting back. Or this – you could save more water by not eating that pound of meat than by choosing not to shower for six months! Plus, you’ll smell nicer…
3. More Land, More Resources
Animals take up a lot more room per pound to raise than plants – which means if we don’t raise those animals we can create more food. Right now, about 30% of the Earth’s land mass is used to raise animals for food. That’s about the size of Asia. If fewer animals are raised for food, then there will be more room to grow crops, not to mention the other benefits.
4. Driving it Home
If you care about the environment, but still love meat, then you might consider things that you could give up to balance the equation. Unfortunately, it might be too much to ask.
Consider this: the emissions created to produce one burger is equivalent to driving your car 320 miles. So, perhaps it’s time to find an alternative (veggie burgers!) to help reduce your carbon footprint.
On the flip side, if your family were to choose to eliminate meat and dairy just one day per week, it would be the same as not driving a car for five weeks – that’s huge!
Putting it all Together
Plant-based lifestyles are not hard – there are so many delicious options and the health benefits are tremendous. With the added benefit of helping the environment (which needs all the help it can get) we encourage you to give it a try. After 22 Days we’re sure you’ll be hooked!