More and more people choose a vegetarian or plant-based diet for health purposes. Those who don’t want to cut out the meat entirely consider themselves flexitarians, eating it occasionally.
It has been a myth that vegetarianism and veganism can’t be choices for people who have high physical jobs, like professional athletes.
Still, former Brooklyn Nets small forward Wilson Chandler paved the way for pro athletes to start veganism as a trend. Chandler might not be in the top 10 most underrated NBA players of all time but he will get a place in history books for being the first NBA player to declare himself vegan.
Also, reducing meat consumption is beneficial not only for our health. It can also help fight climate change and its consequences.
One of the newest researches showed that a plant-based diet reduces the burden on the environment by 42-84% compared to other diets.
Here are 5 ways a plant-based diet helps combat climate change.
A simple reason why a plant-based diet is better for the environment is simply that it doesn’t need so many resources to provide for it.
Livestock production is the single largest driver of habitat loss. For example, in the Amazon, where the rainforest plays an integral role in regulating the world’s oxygen and carbon cycles, cattle ranching accounts for 80 percent of deforestation rates.
And of course, an incredible amount of land is needed to produce the crops for feeding the animals. Producing plant-based food requires less land in general and reduces the need to cultivate forest areas.
Unfortunately, water is slowly becoming more and more scarce, and a way to preserve it is opting for a plant-based diet.
A staggering data showed that almost half of water consumption in the US is used on raising livestock. And it’s not that animals drink a lot of it – most of it goes to produce feeding crops. A pound of beef takes up to 4,000 gallons of water to produce – six times more than for legumes, for example.
Last but not least, cattle contribute to soil erosion and water contaminations with animal waste, pesticides, and fertilizers that go to lakes, rivers, and ponds and end up in the groundwater.
Greenhouse gas emission reduction
In livestock, cows emit 65% of all greenhouse gasses. During the process, the methane gases are released into the air when cows burp and well, fart.
Greenhouse gas is about 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide and contributes immensely to climate change. It sounds incredible, but to produce about 2 pounds of beef causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than driving a car for three hours!
Eliminating cattle or at least reducing its numbers would create a lasting impact in the fight against it.
Reducing air pollution
Together with methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are the main causes of global warming.
In addition to that, farms contaminate the air with huge amounts of dust, and it gets even more horrifying – the pools of cattle urine and feces evaporate into the air, creating poisonous mists that are especially dangerous when inhaled.
Preserving natural resources
As Peta.org explains, massive portions of land are needed to make more room for animals and crops to feed them. From tropical rain forests in Brazil to ancient pine forests in China, entire ecosystems are destroyed to produce meat.
It’s not just the trees and plants that are getting destroyed. These processes affect wildlife habitats & endangered species as the land cultivation ruins animal homes, and they need to find other places to live. It puts the natural order of things off balance.
Lastly, as the livestock industry uses a vast amount of antibiotics, growth hormones, and chemicals to make animals grow fast or get fatter, these drugs enter nature. The effect is dangerous both for humans and wild animals who feed on that soil.
How can we help? Every individual can contribute by reducing their meat consumption, supporting environmentally-friendly legislation, and donating money to various organizations.
If you have extra income, say from gambling at the casino, it can support these causes. If you’d like to try but are unsure where to start, Twinspires introduces 5 best casino games for beginners to make it easier!