How your diet could change the world
World meat production has quadrupled in the past 50 years and farmed animals now outnumber people by more than three to one.1 In other words, the livestock population is expanding faster than the human population and is projected to continue to expand as the Chinese middle classes increasingly adopt meat-centred diets and as the Western taste for meat, eggs and dairy products continues to grow (along with our waistlines).
This trend will contribute to continuing malnourishment in the developing world, global warming, widespread pollution, deforestation, land degradation, water scarcity and species extinction because more animals mean more crops are needed to feed them: the planet cannot feed both increasing human and farmed animal populations.
So if we are trying to reduce our car use, limit the amount of water we waste, become more ‘energy-efficient’ and generally lessen our environmental impact, we must also examine the most important factor of our personal ecological footprint: what we eat.
"Studies indicate that a varied vegan diet requires about a third of the land needed for conventional Western diets. Quite simply, we do not have enough land to feed everyone on an animal-based diet." Read more
"Overgrazing is blamed for 35 per cent of soil degradation, deforestation for 30 per cent and agriculture for 27 per cent. These main causes are directly or indirectly related to the consumption of animal products." Read more
"The expansion of agricultural land accounts for more than 60 per cent of worldwide deforestation. Most of this land is used to graze beef cattle." Read more
"The wholesale destruction of forest environments to provide grazing land for cattle and to grow feed for livestock contributes direct to loss of biodiversity." Read more
"Although statistics vary, it is safe to say that it takes at least three times the amount of water to feed a meat eater compared with that used to feed a vegan." Read more
"By stopping eating fish – be it farmed or wild-caught – we can reverse the destruction of ocean environments." Read more
“The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport.” Read more
"The consumption of animal products contributes to global warming, pollution, water scarcity, land degradation, deforestation and loss of biodiversity – in other words, all the major environmental problems." Read more
View the content of this section as a booklet: