by Megan Werden ‘17
When most people think about being vegetarian, they think about how many animals’ lives will be saved. Although this is an important point, there are other compelling reasons why being a vegetarian produces positive results.
Recent research has found that livestock farming has lead to climate change. For example, cows release methane into the atmosphere, which causes pollution; pollution inevitably leads to global warming, and therefore climate change. Hence, eating more vegetables rather than having big farms with animals like cows could promote a healthy environment.
On another note, consuming processed meats cause worldwide health problems. They increase the risk of terrible yet common diseases like heart disease. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found that for a healthier diet, one must eat less sugar, and meat. A study done at Oxford University that showed that a healthier diet would lead to 5.1 million fewer global deaths by 2050. The cost of health care could also be potentially lower, as people would be healthier with their plant-based diets.
Healthier diets will lead to the environment being healthier and better off as well. The study shows that eating more plant-based foods would lead to mortality being cut by 6 to 10 percent by 2050 and will decrease greenhouse gas emissions. If more plant-based foods were being eaten, less environmentally diminishing practices would be occurring. More land with plants would be needed, and therefore there would be less deforestation. This would then lead to even less greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere because more carbon dioxide is released when trees are cut down.
When tropical zones are deforested to make room for more ranching land, extra carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Therefore, limiting this ranching will benefit the atmosphere.
As meat tends to be a large part of the American diet and in other countries around the world, vegetarianism holds many positive aspects for things other than the vegetarians themselves.
If vegetarianism was further considered, people would have a much greater chance of living on a healthier and more sustainable planet.