Reuters recently published an article on what the world would look like if everyone were vegetarian. The basis of the article is a new study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
If every human on Earth switched to a compassionate vegetarian diet, “the world could avoid millions of deaths per year by 2050, cut planet-warming emissions substantially, and save billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and climate damage,” states the article.
The study is the first ever to estimate the impact of a global move toward a plant-based diet on health and climate change. Lead author Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food said, “What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the global environment.”
The study found that if the world followed recommendations to eat minimum amounts of fruits and vegetables and limit red meat, sugar, and total calorie consumption, it would cut food-related emissions by 29 percent. Adopting a vegetarian diet would cut emissions by 63 percent, and a vegan diet would cut them by 70 percent.
Additionally, the study found that dietary shifts could produce savings of $700 billion to $1,000 billion per year on healthcare, unpaid care, and lost working days while the economic benefit of reduced greenhouse gas emissions could be as much as $570 billion.
“Adopting healthier and more environmentally sustainable diets can be a large step in the right direction,” says Springmann. While a vegetarian world sounds idealistic, it may be our only hope to save the planet.
For information on adopting a compassionate plant-based diet, including delicious vegan recipes, click here.