7 Ways Eating More Veggies Can Make You a Climate Justice Hero
After a month of writing about eating habits and then last week’s post on food justice, it’s time to bring it back to the other major field I integrate with wellness: climate change.
There are myriad reasons to eat veggies that have to do with our health. As it turns out, and I’ve discussed the science before, a vegan diet is one of our best wins over climate change. Let’s look at the projections of 2050 based on a recent study conducted at Oxford University:
- A vegan diet would reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 70%;
- Per capita health benefits of this dietary change is greatest in developed nations, almost twice as in developing nations;
- Developing nations would see two-third of the overall health benefits of this change;
- There could be up to 8 million deaths avoided, half due to reducing red meat intake, and half due to increasing fruit and veggie intake;
- We could see up to USD 30 trillion in overall added value to society, about a tenth of 2050’s global GDP;
- We could realize up to USD 1 billion global healthcare savings annually;
- Reduced risk of dying could be worth USD 20-30 trillion, or 9-13% of global GDP, and avoided damages due to reduced food-related emissions could be as much as $570 billion.
There’s no need to feel intimidated or feel you have to go vegan right now – even cutting your meat intake by as little as 30% can make a big difference, according to this research. You could also start by reducing or eliminating the top five most climate-harming foods: Beef, lamb, butter, shellfish, and cheese. It’s important to take one step at a time. My dad, for example, added a habit of having meat only at dinner, and then gave up dairy. Even Google is doing it, starting with encouraging employees to avoid beef.
Here’s another nugget from a recent article on how cities are fighting climate change and why they need to consider food policy, including the foods they purchase for schools, prisons, stadiums, and so on:
According to the Center for a Livable Future, the food supply chain contributes roughly a third of global greenhouse gases (of which livestock contributes 70 percent). Along with many of the other actions available to help push back the pernicious impact of climate change, it looks like small, local efforts to change eating habits can make a big difference.
So, it’s time to feel the empowerment of making a difference with every meal and snack you choose: your food choices are important to what our future on this planet looks like. I am not exaggerating – we can eat our way out of dangerous climate change together. Check out our free recipes to get you started on the road to better health and climate heroism. And our collection of essays on climate change, wellness, and social justice.