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Reducing the Environmental Impact of Dietary Choice: Perspectives from a Behavioural and Social Change Approach

A research paper that examines how the wide scale adoption of a plant based diet could solve some of our most serious environmental problems (including climate change and water scarcity) and global hunger challenges.

A few related points

The sustainability of livestock is not as viable as that of crop production; therefore, shifting consumer behavior may be a necessary component of a holistic approach to sustainable food policy.

Given the reduced greenhouse gas emissions if following a plant-based diet relative to an animal based diet, it has been contended that personal choice of diet is just as important as personal choice about transport.

Livestock's threat to biodiversity is largely through occupying land that was once a habitat for wildlife. The highest rate of deforestation is currently occurring in Latin America, where 70% of previously forested land in the Amazon is now used for livestock pastures.

The authors concluded that there are clear environmental benefits of plant-based diets. The evidence suggests wide-scale adoption of a plant based diet would reduce human impact on the environment and improve some of our most serious environmental problems such as climate change and fresh water scarcity. In addition, a plant-based diet is a more socially equitable means of feeding the earth's population. Any reduction in meat consumption made for environmental reasons may also improve public health profiles around chronic diseases of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer. It may also result in a decreased threat of zoonotic disease.