(UR) Texas — If the Florida woman featured in this video represents the health of a typical vegan at 70 years of age, then the benefits for reversing global warming are just icing on the cake (or better yet, less slush from a glacier).

 

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to estimate both the health and climate change impacts of a worldwide move toward a diet that is more focused on plant consumption.

Echoing the sentiments of a Harvard study released a few years ago that suggested minimizing eating red meat to improve overall health, the new research suggests that with a change in diet, several million deaths could be prevented annually by 2050, cutting billions in healthcare costs, and reducing planet-warming emissions from human actions. Though it has been suggested all the planets in the solar system seem to be warming up, the clear-cutting of rainforests, unconscionable corporate polluting, the mass consumption of meat, and other preventable actions make global warming worse.

Other reasons to consider reducing or eliminating your meat consumption include the following:

1. A single cow used for milk can drink up to 50 gallons of water per day — and twice that amount in hot weather. It is estimated to takes 683 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of milk.

2. More than 90 percent of all Amazon rainforest land cleared since 1970 is used for grazing livestock. When you consider that this single forest supports millions of plant, animal, and insect species – a showcase of chemical invention, acting as a natural archive — why would you want to destroy it for a steak?  Medicines like quinine, immune-system boosters, muscle relaxants, steroids such as cortisone, blood thinners such as Coumadin, antibiotics, anti-parasitics, and cancer drugs are found in Amazonian plants. This forest is the source of some of the most widely used and lifesaving medications, and we don’t even know all the plant species there yet.

3. It requires 20 times less land to feed someone a plant-based diet than a meat-based one. Fifty-six million acres of land are currently used in the U.S. to grow feed for livestock animals, and this is largely relegated to the growth of genetically-modified (GM, GMO) soy, corn, and alfalfa. One-hundred-seventy million hectares of GMO crops now occupy over 10 percent of the world’s arable land — that’s a lot of real estate that could be used to grow organic food for people the world over.

4. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), animals on U.S. factory farms produce about 500 million tons of manure each year. If we were composting all of that it wouldn’t be such a problem, but since these animals are treated poorly and often fed high doses of antibiotics — as well as GMO feed — guess where those unwanted, added ingredients end up? Many of our rivers and lakes are polluted with the excrement from factory farming. A Rolling Stone article has appropriately pointed out that the ‘cheap’ price of meat most consumers pay is due to the horrible treatment of innocent agricultural animals.

The lead author of the new study, Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Program on the Future of Food, urges that, “We don’t expect everyone to become vegan,” but suggests that if more people did, they’d live longer, and the planet would fare better as well. Springman explained:

“What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the global environment.”


This article (Why a Simple Change to Your Diet Could Save Millions of Lives) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to undergroundreporter2016@gmail.com. Image credit:Pixabay/sallymommatown