Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your 
environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most 
comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet.

 The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global 
farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, 
China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss 
of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass 
extinction of wildlife.

 The new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories 
and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 
60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other recent research shows 86% 
of all land mammals are now livestock or humans. The scientists also found that 
even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more 
environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.

 A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on 
planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, 
eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University 
of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on 
your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse 
gas emissions.


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