Top 5 Environmental Reasons to Go Veggie

Many of us become vegetarians for superficial reasons. It’s OK to admit it. Weight loss, super shiny hair and spotless skin are all definite perks of the vegetarian diet. However, the decision to ‘go veggie’ comes with plenty of more altruistic benefits too.

By limiting meat from your diet, you’re contributing to a more sustainable planet, something in which we all – veggies and meat-eaters alike – stand to benefit from.

Here are just five of the ways vegetarianism benefits our earth:
1. Reduces Greenhouse Gases
Livestock bred for human consumption emit greenhouse gases like methane, which pollute our planet and contribute to Global Climate Change.

A 2006 UN report revealed that livestock bred for their meat produce more harmful greenhouse gases than all forms of transport combined (cars, planes, etc.) and make up 18% of the total amount of Climate Change air pollution.
2. Saves Our Rainforests
Whilst the deforestation debate is often centred around rainforests that are gutted for their timber, one of the main reasons these important ecosystems are destroyed is the livestock trade. Remarkably, 70% of deforestation in the Amazon is a result of livestock breeding.

Cattle, pigs, sheep – they all need land, and land is quickly becoming one of our planet’s most endangered, non-renewable resources. According to Vegetarian Society, livestock farms make up 30% of all the land on earth and represent 70% of all agricultural land. A meat-eater’s diet requires about 2.5 times the amount of land as someone who sticks solely to vegetarian recipes.
3. Limits Risk of Disease
There are two main ways in which animals make us prone to disease. Firstly, livestock produce a massive amount of waste. That waste contains numerous types of harmful microorganisms, such as E coli, salmonella and fecal coliform. These dangerous pathogens are spread to humans through unclean water and manure.

The other main way that animals make humans more susceptible to disease is even more troubling. Antibiotics that are fed to livestock are then transferred into humans, increasing our immunity to medicines that could potentially save our life.
4. Requires Less Water
By now we are all familiar with the need to save water – turning the tap off while we brush our teeth and happily letting our lawn go brown instead of running the sprinkler all day. However, you may not realise just how much water livestock require.

Estimates for the amount of water needed to produce a kilo of beef have been as high as 100,000 litres, about 100 times the amount needed to produce a kilo of wheat.
5. Lessens Demand for Oil
Breeding livestock requires an enormous amount of electricity at every stage of the process. From the giant sprinklers that water the farmlands to the refrigerated lorries carrying tonnes of beef to the supermarket, the entire system requires plenty of oil to function.

So, whilst there are many personal perks to the vegetarian lifestyle, the greatest benefits are to our planet. If superficial reasons aren’t enough to get you to put down the burger, let the incredible environmental benefits persuade you instead.