The arguments in favour of veganism have grown in recent years, especially among those who advocate the movement as a way to protect nature and prevent global warming, but is it true that its impact can be so great? Can we slow down climate change through our food consumption?
You may already take many actions to prevent climate change, such as cycling, water conservation and sustainable energy use. But have you considered how what you eat influences the environment?
The impact of our meals
Every food we eat has its own impact, but some foods have a much greater impact than others. Meat production has a huge impact on our planet. Of all the world's industries, livestock farming is one of the main contributors to global warming, deforestation, the raising and slaughtering of billions of animals for food requires vast amounts of natural resources such as fresh water and land every year, and generates large amounts of waste and pollution.
According to the FAO, factory farming is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more polluting gases than the entire transport sector. In Europe, halving our meat consumption alone would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25-40%.
Animal food production wastes water and soil
Livestock farming causes soil loss and water scarcity, both of which also contribute to climate change. Eighty per cent of the world's agricultural land is used for growing feed for livestock or for grazing, and one third of water consumption is used to produce this feed.
Feeding animals for human consumption is a highly inefficient food production system. The FAO estimates that it takes between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of meat, while only 1,800 litres are needed to produce 1 kg of soya. Soya can produce 15 times more protein per hectare of crop than cattle.
It is therefore inevitable that if we want to make a change and slow down climate change, it is imperative that we tackle the problem of livestock farming and make a change in our diets.
Helping to stop climate change is on your plate, but we are not the only ones responsible, politicians and institutions also have to join the change and promote and facilitate the need for a change in the food model. Fortunately, some countries are already starting to take measures, for example, the French government is committed to the production of vegetable protein, and other countries such as Denmark and Sweden are considering the need to tax food according to the climate impact of its production.
By opting for a 100% plant-based diet, you will be halving the carbon footprint associated with your diet. You also have the opportunity to do your bit. You can be part of the change and protect the planet by reducing or eliminating the consumption of animal products.