The production of farmed meat and the livestock sector, such as raising cows, pigs and chickens is responsible for around 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, this is mainly due to the deforestation to make land available for livestock along with methane emissions from animals and fertilizer use. Farmed meat and dairy amounts to more emissions than all the worlds’ cars trucks and planes put together. Put simply, avoiding meat and dairy is one of the biggest and most impactful ways you can reduce your own carbon footprint.
Not only is eating less meat and dairy better for the environment, a plant-based diet can also be more beneficial for your health. A plant-based diet mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and nuts and is rich in fibre, vitamins, and other important nutrients. Research has also shown that people who eat red meat are at a higher risk at factors such as heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.
It could be quite difficult to go ‘cold turkey’ and stop eating meat and dairy altogether. If you are put off at the thought of going without meat all day, try to ease into the process by having a few meatless meals each week and building from there.
A report by the Centre for Alternative Technology has shown that the UK can achieve net zero without asking us to all become vegan. In fact, a switch to a healthier balanced diet, which includes all food groups but would lead to a reduction in the amount of meat and dairy that we consume on average, would make a big difference.