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Vegan diet, climate change connection

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Vincent Laresca: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report on the desperate need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. They concluded that all the world's governments may have as little as 12 years to act on climate change and prevent a global catastrophe.

However, we must never forget about the devastating effects our daily decisions have on the entire planet and its inhabitants.


1. According to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. That's greater than the entire transportation sector.

2. According to Greenpeace, animal agriculture is the leading cause of Amazon Rainforest destruction.

3. Yale University agrees. They concluded that 80% of Amazon Rainforest destruction is caused by animal agriculture.

4. The World Bank disagrees. They concluded that animal agriculture is actually responsible for 90% of Amazon Rainforest destruction.

5. When taking deforestation into account, a World Watch Institute report concluded that animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions.

6. Research by scientists at Oxford University showed that avoiding meat, dairy, and eggs would reduce food related greenhouse gas emissions by 70%.

7. According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 9 out of the 10 most climate damaging foods are animal products.

8. Greenpeace concluded that "Global meat and dairy production and consumption must be cut in half by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change and keep the Paris Agreement on track."

9. A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Clean Water Network "documents how animal waste from factory farms threatens human health and our nation's rivers. Most factory farms store animal waste in open lagoons as large as several football fields. Lagoons routinely burst, sending millions of gallons of manure into waterways and spreading microbes that can cause gastroenteritis, fevers, kidney failure, and death."

10. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the world's largest collection of floating trash. A peer-reviewed study published in the journal Scientific Reports concluded that fishing nets account for 46% of the trash, with the majority of the rest composed of other fishing industry gear, including ropes, oyster spacers, eel traps, crates, and baskets.

11. 30% of the Earth's ice-free land is occupied by animal agriculture, including using land to grow grains, vegetables, and soy to fatten up billions of farmed animals every year.

12. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the calories that are lost by feeding soy, vegetables, and grains to animals, instead of using them directly as human food, could feed an additional 3.5 billion people.

13. The World Wildlife Fund concluded that meat-based diets are the leading cause of species extinction.

14. It takes approximately 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef and 896 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cheese.

15. At the rate in which humans consume fish, seafood is at great risk. "Biodiversity is a finite resource".


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November 2018

GreenPolicy appreciation to Vincent Laresca for his research on Vegans, Animal Agriculture & Climate Change


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