Fortunately, taking action for the climate is easier and less expensive than it might seem at first glance. It doesn't require expensive purchases, a complete renovation of our homes, or giving up the car or well-earned long-distance travel. Climate protection starts on a small scale, with everyday decisions in the supermarket. Whether animal products or plant-based alternatives end up in the shopping basket is much more important for the climate.
Climate polluter No. 1: Animal husbandry
It is not airplanes, combined heat and power plants or the automotive industry that are the great climate polluters of our time, but the livestock industry and with it the consumption of meat, milk, eggs and other animal products. Numerous scientific studies in recent years have shown that the livestock industry is a major cause of climate change. No wonder, then, that the same studies are calling on us to finally change our eating habits.
As early as 2006, a report by the FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization) identified animal agriculture as the main cause of today's environmental problems and climate change. If you take a look at the extent of intensive animal husbandry, the UN's findings come as no surprise. After all, the billions of chickens, turkeys, pigs, cows and other animals that we consume every year need to be fed and watered. For this purpose, forests are cleared on a massive scale so that whole swaths of land can be used for grazing and cultivation of feed. The cultivation of wheat, soy and other feed also consumes vast amounts of water, which is lacking elsewhere in many countries.
As if that were not enough, animal husbandry produces the most climate-relevant greenhouse gases, because animals excrete ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxide during digestion. Add to this emissions from the production processes, processing, transport and storage of meat, eggs and dairy products, and unimaginable amounts of greenhouse gases are added up.
According to the Livestock and Climate Change report, WorldWatch Institute, the production of meat, eggs and dairy products amounts to at least 32.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, accounting for more than 50 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the authors of the study found that methane produced by the livestock industry is much more climate-relevant than carbon dioxide. Therefore, the key to effective climate protection lies in vegan nutrition. The good news: According to calculations by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), a change in diet could avoid about 80 percent of the methane and nitrous oxide emissions caused by animal agriculture!
Climate protection starts on the plate!
We have all heard of organic, regional and seasonal in connection with climate protection. However, many people do not realize that the decision between an animal-based and a meat-free diet is much more decisive. For example, one kilo of organic beef is no less than 90 times more harmful to the climate than the same amount of conventional vegetables! Organic butter is still 10 times worse for the climate than conventional margarine. The Öko-Institut in Freiburg, Germany, tested the climate impact of individual foods in 2007. Butter came out on top of the list of the most climate-damaging foods, with beef in second place. For the experts it is clear: animal products harm the climate more than vegetable ones, with a vegan nutrition large quantities of greenhouse gases can be saved. Vegan nutrition is at the latest since the publication of these numbers in the trend. In view of the many plant-based alternatives, animal products are not necessary from either a health or a taste perspective.
Go vegan! Be healthy, animal-friendly and climate-friendly!
When it comes to climate protection, it's not just the choice of transport or the next travel destination that counts, it's much simpler - even every buying and eating decision counts! Regional, seasonal and organic food are steps in the right direction, but they alone are not enough to make a difference against climate change. We call for: Do the self-experiment! Hopefully, you too will succeed in switching from an animal-based to a plant-based diet!