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Earth Day 2022: Are plant-based meats better for the environment?

Earth Day 2022: Are plant-based meats better for the environment?

By Sohil Wazir,

Remember the days when the sky was clearer with stars shining everywhere or the times when we didn’t chase after bottled mineral water but were okay with drinking water from natural sources? No? We don’t know how to.

Because we have become so enamored with the idea of rapid development, luxury lifestyles, high-end conveniences, mouth-watering cuisines, and all the rest, we have lost sight of the fact that the environment is suffering because of our extravagant lifestyles. It is important to spend time thinking about how we can help the planet retain its greenery and prominence as we celebrate Earth Day. 

In this context, plant-based diets have emerged as a conscious step towards meeting climate-related goals for developing communities. And, NO, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to give up on eating tangy Butter Chicken or delectable Mutton Korma. The idea is to choose a healthier, more sustainable, and more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional animal-based meats. Plant-based meat is a revolutionary innovation that makes it easier to help the environment. 

Plant-based meat is better than traditional animal-based food

Ipsos Global Advisor conducted a survey in 2018 and found that 73% are omnivores, meaning they eat both animal and non-animal foods. Did you know that 80 billion animals are killed each year to cater for the meat-eating habits among these 73%? 

You may be surprised to find out that animal cruelty isn’t the only thing in play. According to various studies, traditional meat is responsible for generating 60% of all greenhouse gases from food production– the same greenhouse gases that trap the sun’s radiation contributing considerably towards warming the planet and pushing it further towards severe global warming. 

We cannot forget about the immense amount of land required for animal agriculture. Water Footprint Network’s report highlighted that global animal production needs approximately 2422 Gm3 per year. The report also stated that animal products have a significantly larger water footprint than crops. 

Similar reports also stated that only 71% of the 29% of Earth’s land (the rest being ocean) is habitable. Only 50% of this land is suitable for agriculture. But the notable part here is that 77% of this large agricultural land accounts for livestock farming which ironically only produces 18% and 37% of the world’s calories and protein, respectively. 

However, 23% of global agricultural land is used for crops (excluding feed). This means that 82% calories and 63% of protein are all provided by plant-based foods. It becomes crucial to ask the question, “Are we spending a lot of our scarce resources to get pennies in returns?” 

These statistics beg the question, “Why are we still following an animal-based diet?” It is well-known that animal agriculture is contributing greatly to climate change and worsening environmental conditions. Isn’t it time to make plant-based meat a mainstream alternative to a high protein, nutrient, and scrumptious diet?

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Yes!! Yes!

Every meat lover can reduce their carbon footprint and still enjoy the delicious foods they love thanks to the ever-evolving nature of food technology. The less demand for animal-based meats, the less animal agriculture will be required. Studies have shown that plant-based meat emits significantly less GHG gases than conventional meat, due to the fact that it is enriched with nutrients and protein extracted from soybean, pea, and other hand-picked sources. 

And of course, if you are worried about sacrificing your taste buds for the greater good, DON’T. Modern-day food tech companies are working hard to ensure that consumers can continue enjoying their favorite non-vegetarian dishes with a sustainable, healthier, plant-based twist. These planet-friendly meat alternatives come with high-protein and nutritional values and zero cholesterol. You can live a healthier, more sustainable, and guilt-free lifestyle by switching to plant-based meats. 

One simple, conscious dietary change can set off a chain reaction that eventually reduces the number of animals being slaughtered. This will not only help animals, but also humans to live in a healthier, more sustainable world.

(The author isCCO of Blue Tribe. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)

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