Most vegans are well aware of the environmental impact of animal agriculture (51% of greenhouse gas emissions anyone?), but are equally aware that this isn’t going to be a vegan world anytime soon. The good news is, even small moves towards a plant-based diet can positively effect Mother Earth.
According to a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, eating less meat and more fruits and veggies could work wonders for the planet.
Researchers examined info from 1,571 food diaries, recorded over a four-day period by adults in Great Britain, reports ThinkProgress.org. They found that if participants followed the World Health Organization’s dietary guidelines—which call for a diet “consisting mainly of plant food, and at least 14 ounces (400g for Europeans) of fruit and veggies every day“—greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 17 percent. (As an added bonus, average life expectancy could be increased by a year for males and four months for females.)
The study also found that making even minor changes to diets—including cutting back on meat and processed foodstuffs—could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent.
They also determined that veggies are even friendlier for emissions sake than their fruit counterparts—though fruit is still leaps and bounds better than animal products.
All in all, this is good news, and incentive to get your meat-eating friends to start cutting back. Plant-based eating can save the planet, and even small changes can make a big difference.