Vegetarian/vegan diets: A great way to help the planet in 2019

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Climate change made headlines in a new way in 2018. As reported by The World Meteorological Organization — an intergovernmental organization of 191 national meteorological services, such as the US National Weather Service, the UK Met Office and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology — the past 4 years have been the hottest on record. In 2018 an alarming report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s scientific authority on climate change, warned that the future holds increasingly dire impacts from heat waves, droughts, sea level rise and global food shortages.

While taking public transportation versus driving or driving electric cars is helpful, scientists are sounding alarm bells loudly and saying that changing what’s on our plates is nearly as important as shifting to renewable energy.

According to a recent article in The Guardian, avoiding meat and dairy is one very important thing we can do to reduce our impact on the planet. This is largely because raising livestock, while it provides just 18% of daily calories, takes up approximately 80% of farmland.

Research shows that without meat or dairy consumption, global farmland use could potentially be reduced by more than 75%, an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined. And livestock produces nearly 60% of the greenhouse gases produced by agriculture.

Also according to The Guardian, just 100 companies have been the source of over 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.

This list consists of companies in the fossil fuel and coal industries, not agricultural companies. Addressing fossil fuel reduction is critical. But it’s nice to know that eating a vegan diet, or simply reducing meat and dairy, is kind to animals and a healthy way to help combat climate change.

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