The Global Cost of Not Going Veg
A recent Oxford University study highlights the human, environmental and economic cost the world faces if we don’t go veg. On the health side, the report shows that millions of lives will be lost due to meat, dairy and egg-related diseases. From an environmental perspective, eighty percent of agricultural greenhouse emissions come from livestock. While the economic cost is already high, Oxford University estimates that by 2050, raising and consuming meat will cost the world as much as $13 trillion per year in increased medical costs and environmental damage. They say the most effective diet to stem this rising tide of pollution and illness is the plant-based or vegan diet.
There isn’t a moment to lose. The world is careening towards an environment never before experienced by humans, with the temperature of the air and oceans breaking records, sea levels reaching historic highs, and carbon dioxide surpassing a key milestone, a major international report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found. Last year was the warmest on record, with the annual surface temperature beating the previous record set in 2014. The oceans also reached the highest temperature on record. As would be expected, the sea level rose to a record height as well. “The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” says Michael Mann, a leading climatologist at Penn State, “They are playing out before us, in real time. The 2015 numbers drive that home.”
While most environmental agencies and organizations are slow to recognize it, our food choices are make or break factors when it comes to global warming. A UN report said that raising livestock causes more global warming than all the cars, trains, trucks, air planes and ships in the world put together. Meanwhile a report from the World Watch Institute said that raising livestock causes more greenhouse gas emission than all other sources combined.
Adopting a plant-based diet has always been a good thing to do for the world, but now it seems imperative, if we are to avoid some pretty serious consequences at the global level.