- Barré T, Perignon M, Gazan R, et al. Integrating nutrient bioavailability and co-production links when identifying sustainable diets: How low should we reduce meat consumption? PLOS ONE. 2018;13(2).
Chai BC, van der Voort JR, Grofelnik K, Eliasdottir HG, Klöss I, Perez-Cueto FJA. Which diet has the least environmental impact on our planet? A Systematic review of vegan, vegetarian and omnivorous diets. Sustainability. 2019; 11(15):4110.
Center for a Livable Future Report. Johns Hopkins University. The Importance of Reducing Animal Product Consumption and Wasted Food in Mitigating Catastrophic Climate Change. COP 21. 2015
- Clark et al. SUMMARY PAPER 2: The role of healthy diets in creating environmentally sustainable food systems World Health Organization/FAO ”SUSTAINABLE HEALTHY DIETS GUIDING PRINCIPLES” (2019)
- “Global adoption of a low-meat diet that meets nutritional recommendations for fruits, vegetables, and caloric requirements is estimated to reduce diet-related GHGs by nearly 50 percent, and premature mortality by nearly 20 percent. “
- “In addition to dietary changes, other changes to the food system could further reduce its environmental impact, including reductions in food loss and waste; technology implementation and changes in management to improve crop yields and reduce fertilizer and pesticide runoff; and changes in food formulation, processing, and preparation.”
- “The benefits of adopting environmentally sustainable and healthy diets will vary by country”
- FAO. 2020. Livestock and environment statistics: manure and greenhouse gas emissions. Global, regional and country trends, 1990–2018. FAOSTAT Analytical Brief Series No. 14. Rome.
- Two-thirds of agricultural emissions come from grazing livestock, with cattle responsible for the largest contribution
- Fry JP, Stodden B, Brace AM, Laestadius LI. A Tale of Two Urgent Food System Challenges: Comparative Analysis of Approaches to Reduce High-Meat Diets and Wasted Food as Covered in U.S. Newspapers. Sustainability. 2022; 14(19):12083.
- “There is clear scientific evidence that diets in high-income countries need to shift away from animal-based foods and towards plant-based foods not only to reduce GHGs (greenhouse gases) to address climate change but also to reduce resource use (e.g., land, water) and pollution,” write the scientists from Maryland’s Towson University and the University of Wisconsin, “but many newspaper journalists are presenting ‘both sides’ and, therefore, covering the issue as an open debate.”
- Forbes Article that covers the study in more plain language: Journalists Are Making The Same Mistake With Dietary Change They Made With Climate Change: Study
Gardner CD, Hartle JC, Garrett RD, Offringa LC, Wasserman AS. Maximizing the intersection of human health and the health of the environment with regard to the amount and type of protein produced and consumed in the United States. Nutrition Reviews. 2019;77(4):197-215.
Gerber PJ, Steinfeld H, Henderson B, et al. Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome; 2013.
- Godfray HCJ, Aveyard P, Garnett T, Hall JW, Key TJ, Lorimer J, Pierrehumbert RT, Scarborough P, Springmann M, Jebb SA. Meat consumption, health, and the environment. Science. 2018 Jul 20;361(6399):eaam5324
- “The consumption of different types of meat and meat products has substantial effects on people’s health, and livestock production can have major negative effects on the environment.”
- Although meat is a concentrated source of nutrients for low-income families, it also enhances the risks of chronic ill health, such as from colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- “Meat production is the single most important source of methane, which has a relatively high warming potential but a low half-life in the environment compared with that of CO2. Careful management of grassland systems can contribute to carbon storage, but the net benefits are likely to be relatively modest. Agriculture uses more freshwater than any other human activity, with nearly a third required for livestock, so meat production in water-stressed areas is a major competitor with other uses of water, including that required to maintain natural ecosystems. Meat production can be an important source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other pollutants and affects biodiversity—in particular, through land conversion to pasture and arable feed crops.”
- Guglielmi, G. Eating one-fifth less beef could halve deforestation. Nature. May 4th 2022. Accessed October 2022
- Swapping 50% of the beef consumed per person for mycoprotein would result in a more than 80% reduction in deforestation and carbon emissions, and replacing 80% of beef with mycoprotein would eliminate about 90% of forest loss.
- Hayek, Matthew N., and Rachael D. Garrett. “Nationwide shift to grass-fed beef requires larger cattle population.” Environmental Research Letters 13, no. 8 (2018): 084005.
- If the entire U.S. beef supply were converted to grass-fed production, existing pasture land could only support 27% of current demand and, due to the necessary increased herd size, total U.S. methane emissions would rise by 8%.
- IPCC. 2019. Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. [P.R. Shukla, J. Skea, E. Calvo Buendia, V. Masson-Delmotte, H.- O. Pörtner, D. C. Roberts, P. Zhai, R. Slade, S. Connors, R. van Diemen, M. Ferrat, E. Haughey, S. Luz, S. Neogi, M. Pathak, J. Petzold, J. Portugal Pereira, P. Vyas, E. Huntley, K. Kissick, M. Belkacemi, J. Malley, (eds.)].
- Discusses the urgency of addressing greenhouse gas emissions from food and agriculture in order to meet climate goals.
- David L Katz, Plant-Based Diets for Reversing Disease and Saving the Planet: Past, Present, and Future, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 10, Issue Supplement_4, November 2019, Pages S304–S307
- The evidence is strong, consistent, and compelling that a diet of predominantly, or even exclusively, whole plant foods can promote health, selectively treat and reverse disease, and confer comparable benefit to the planet.
Kim, B et al. The Importance of Reducing Animal Product Consumption and Wasted Food in Mitigating Catastrophic Climate Change. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Dec 2015.
- Loken, B. Nature-based Solutions can save the planet, but only if we change our diets too World Economic Forum Website. 2021
- Project Drawdown. 2020. “Table of Solutions.” February 5, 2020. https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/table-of-solutions
- Shifting toward plant-rich diets is the third most impactful climate solution, with the potential to reduce more emissions than practices like improved manure management, improved cattle feed, managed grazing, and silvopasture can achieve combined.
Ranganathan J, Waite R. Animal-based Foods are More Resource-Intensive than Plant-Based Foods – World Resources Institute Published April 20, 2016.
- “Overwhelming evidence shows that overconsumption of meat is bad for human and environmental health and that moving towards a more plant-based diet is more sustainable. For instance, replacing beef with beans in the US could free up 42% of US cropland and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 334 mmt, accomplishing 75% of the 2020 carbon reduction target.”
- Sabaté J, Soret S. Sustainability of plant-based diets: back to the future. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014; 100 Suppl 1:476S-482S.
- “Going back” to plant-based diets worldwide seems to be a reasonable alternative for a sustainable future. Policies in favor of the global adoption of plant-based diets will simultaneously optimize the food supply, health, environmental, and social justice outcomes for the world’s population. Implementing such nutrition policy is perhaps one of the most rational and moral paths for a sustainable future of the human race and other living creatures of the biosphere that we share.
Semba, Kim, et al. Major Health Gains and Carbon Savings Possible from a Shift to Plant-based Diets. Nature Food. 2020
- Sustainable Agriculture: Beef. World Wildlife Fund. Website. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/beef. Accessed Sept 2022
- “Beef production has a considerable effect on climate change due to emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. Research shows that ruminant livestock account for between 7% and 18% of global methane emissions from human-related activities.”
Thompson A. Here’s how much food contributes to climate change: Animal-based foods produce about twice the emissions of plant-based ones, a new comprehensive study finds. Scientific American. September 2021.
- United Nations Environment Programme and Climate and Clean Air Coalition. 2021. Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.
- Executive Report: https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/35917/GMA_ES.pdf
- “Globally…In the agricultural sector, livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation represent roughly 32 per cent, and rice cultivation 8 per cent of global anthropogenic emissions”
- The White House. 2021. The White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan 6. (citing EPA, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2019 (2021)).
- Animal agriculture is the largest source of methane in the U.S., driven by enteric fermentation from cattle.
Making the case for “Better Meat” & Sustainable Seafood & Regenerative Ocean Agriculture