Vegetarian to reduce your footprint?
Is a vegetarian way of consuming really reducing your footprint? Researchers concluded that a plant-based diet is the most effective way to contribute to the climate issue.
They listed four actions that could result in substantial decreases in an individual’s carbon footprint:
- eating a plant-based diet
- avoiding air travel
- living car free
- having smaller families
For example, living car-free saves about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, while eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.
According to the research report, a global vegan diet will lower the cost of the necessary climate policy more than 80 percent compared to business as usual throughout the period up to 2050.
More advantages being a vegan:
A reduction in livestock production leads to less greenhouse gases and more biodiversity, as well as other beneficial effects, such as less nitrogen pollution and therefore to less cost to society.
The four mentioned actions have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (which is 4 times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (8 times less effective).
About the research
The research analysed 39 peer reviewed papers, carbon calculators, and government reports to calculate the potential of a range of individual lifestyle choices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This comprehensive analysis identifies the actions individuals could take that will have the greatest impact on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.”
The lead author of the study, Seth Wynes of Lund University, commented:
“There are so many factors that affect the climate impact of personal choices, but bringing all these studies side-by-side gives us confidence we’ve identified actions that make a big difference. Those of us who want to step forward on climate need to know how our actions can have the greatest possible impact. This research is about helping people make more informed choices.
We have classified actions as high (green), moderate (blue), and low (yellow) impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Note the break in the y-axis.
“We found there are four actions that could result in substantial decreases in an individual’s carbon footprint: eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car free, and having smaller families. For example, living car-free saves about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, while eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.
“These actions, therefore, have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (which is 4 times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (8 times less effective).”
The co-author of the study, Kimberly Nicholas, noted: “We recognize these are deeply personal choices. But we can’t ignore the climate effect our lifestyle actually has. Personally, I’ve found it really positive to make many of these changes. It’s especially important for young people establishing lifelong patterns to be aware which choices have the biggest impact. We hope this information sparks discussion and empowers individuals.”
The new study was detailed in a paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. This is the link.
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