N. MUNAL MEITEI
Everyone has a role to play in effectively implementing the global shift to a decarbonized economy. The world is looking at the climate actions by the governments during this COP-27. Research shows that meat and dairy products are fueling the climate crisis, while plant-based diets – focused on fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans – help protect the planet.
World Vegan Day is observed on 1st November every year since 1994. The difference between vegetarians and vegans is that vegetarians don’t eat any animal flesh (beef, chicken, fish, etc.), but vegans don’t take anything that comes from an animal (egg, dairy, leather, fur, etc.).
Going vegan stops the deforestation, soil degradation and greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat production, helping to slow climate change and secure our global food supply. This day also emphasizes the environmental considerations, animal welfare and rights and personal health benefits to encourage people into ditching animal products.
The benefits of vegetarian diets are; weight loss, reduce risk of heart diseases, stroke, cancer, and manage diabetes by lowering A1C levels. Lifestyle and diet are the biggest contributors for diabetes. Plant-based diets help to keep the insulin and glucose levels and reduce the amount of toxins going in the body.
It reduced infection risks, as it automatically eliminates the risk of bacteria like salmonella, E.Coli and many other meat, poultry or fish borne diseases. Unwashed, improperly cooked or infected meats are the cause of 67 million illnesses each year, according to a CDC report.
Researchers from Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation in Taiwan revealed that a vegetarian diet help to lower risk of urinary tract infections as UTIs are usually caused by the gut bacteria that enter the urinary tract and affect the kidneys and bladder. According to a latest research, turning into a vegetarian can increase strong immune system keeping us away from diseases more than those who are non-vegetarians.
According to a climate change report, eating 75 grams of beef – a typical fast-food hamburger – daily for a year emits greenhouse gas equivalent to driving a car over 11,580 km – that’s equal to driving 7 times the India-Myanmar border for 1643 km long. Compare that to eating 150 grams of beans – twice the beef – daily for a year, which is equivalent to driving a car 150 km only. The study found that 57% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy products whereas just 29% are from plant-based foods.
Vegetarian diets are good for both people and the planet. Being vegetarian and vegan can create a better world because vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, save animals lives and help to preserve the earth.
A shift to a plant-based diet will reduce the global mortality and greenhouse gases production by 10% and 70% respectively. Just a global dietary shift would save an estimated 79 million human lives and avoid 5.1 million deaths per year. Estimates for a completely vegan diet project closer to saved 129 million lives and 8.1 million deaths avoided. These projections also saw trillions of rupees saved in health care costs by 2050.
Vegetarian and vegan diet save animals from suffering in factory-farm conditions and from the pain and terror of slaughter. It also conserve vital but limited freshwater, fertile topsoil, precious resources including irreplaceable ecosystems such as rain forests and other wildlife habitats, decrease greenhouse gases and mitigate the environmental pollution.
As empathy, we are all a part of nature. Being vegetarian and vegan will make the world a better place not only for animals, but for our health and environment too. It is a change from an unhealthy to a healthy habit and diet. To become vegetarian lifestyle is the ethical, environmental and humanitarian benefits.
The climate crisis is the biggest threat to the lives on this planet. Being vegetarian will surely help to combat climate change and reduce from further damages to our natural environment. Greenhouse gases are driving the climate crisis. Meats have a high carbon footprint leading to methane emissions. The global meat and dairy industry is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions as all the global transportation combined. You can reduce your carbon footprint by 50% if you go with vegetarian and vegan.
Animal farming is destroying our environment. It causes up to 91% of Amazon deforestation. Growing vegetarian food uses 50% less land than animal agriculture. And a meat and dairy diet is inherently wasteful. Remember that for every 100 calories fed to animals, we receive back only 12 calories by consuming their flesh and milk. Feeding crops to people rather than farmed animals could feed three billion more people.
The plant-based foods are required not only for climate change mitigation but for public health too. Thus the net zero emission aiming for 1.5°C by 2100 will be possible via a shift towards plant-based diets only.
Some people think that becoming a vegetarian lifestyle could be a challenge and have to spend much time and labour to the family and also worried about finding the vegetarian food options. But, many vegetarians acclaimed, the vegetarian’s lifestyle is always easier, happier and healthier.
Therefore to become vegetarian and vegan have the best option in the brighter side of our life. Such acts will surely save us from the climate crisis heading to a healthy environment and the mother Earth for the future generations.
(The writer is an environmentalist, [email protected])