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We Must Shift to Plant-Based Diets to Save Vital Ecosystems and Wildlife

A report supported by the United Nations (UN) says that the world’s broken food system is the “biggest driver of destruction of the natural world” and that people must decrease consumption of animal products in order to stop the damage.
February 22, 2021

OUR FOOD SYSTEM DESTROYING NATURE: The new report, titled “Food System Impacts on Biodiversity Loss,” explains how modern food production—in particular the massive amount of land used for animal farming, or growing crops to feed animals—is destroying natural habitats and contributing to habitat loss and species extinction. 

CLIMATE CHANGE: Animal agriculture also contributes to climate change, which “further degrades habitats and causes species to disperse to new locations. In turn, this brings new species into contact and competition with each other, and creates new opportunities for the emergence of infectious disease,” according to the report.

RECOMMENDATIONS: If we don’t reform our food system, continued destruction of nature will threaten our ability to sustain human life. The report recommends first that a shift toward plant-based diets is imperative to stop the damage on the environment, mentioning that a reduction in consumption of animal products would also help reduce the risk of pandemics and benefit human health. 

Deforestation of the Jamaxin protected area of the Amazon

“[…] a switch from beef to beans in the diets of the entire US population could free up the equivalent to 42 percent of US cropland for other uses such as ecosystem restoration or more nature-friendly farming.”

The report also recommends reducing food waste, setting aside more land for nature, farming in a more nature-friendly way, and avoiding converting land to use for agriculture. All of these solutions, however, depend on humans reducing their consumption of animal-derived products, according to the report.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Reforming the broken global food system is a complex issue, but we all have the power to make a big difference. The easiest and most effective way to help the environment, animals, and human health is by simply avoiding animal-derived foods. With all of the delicious plant-based recipes and alternatives out there, going plant-based is now easier than every. Why not give it a try? 


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