With our acknowledgements to the Vegan Society and their information resources on food and farming (pdf), here are several reasons why a plant-based diet is the best option.
A plant-based diet is healthier. Well-planned plant-based diets are rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. Plants tend to be low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants. They thus help to address some of the modern world’s biggest health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
A plant-based diet has a lower carbon footprint. The production of meat and dairy products places a heavy burden on the environment, from the crops and water required to feed livestock to the transport and processing involved in getting meat and dairy from the farm to your table. The vast amount of grain feed required to produce meat makes a significant contribution to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soybeans to feed to animals in Europe.
On the other hand, considerably smaller amounts of crops and water are required to sustain a plant-based diet. This makes switching to a diet based on plants one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment.
A plant-based diet uses land in a more sustainable way, as it requires only one-third of the land needed to support a diet based on meat and dairy. You can read more about options for the future of farming in the Vegan Society’s Grow Green report. Because we face rising global insecurity in food and water supplies as a result of myriad environmental and socioeconomic problems, there’s never been a better time to adopt a more sustainable way of living.