Americans eat a lot of meat, reaching rates above the global average when it comes to the consumption of animal products. As expected, this doesn’t really have the best effect on the environment, so many researchers suggested that going meat-free would be the key to save it. Therefore, several of them decided to test the impact of going fully vegan.
Meat production causes a big part of greenhouse gas emissions
On average, an American consumes around 214 pounds of meat per year, while a regular person from a different country eats only 75 pounds on average. The difference is too big to remain insignificant, so knowing how America would be if it went vegan was an interesting hypothesis to test.
Therefore, a team of researchers decided to see what would happen if all Americans would abandon meat consumption and replace the meal with plant-based products. However, if you expected a major change, you will be disappointed.
First of all, eating meat contributes to global warming. Around 9 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are caused by agriculture, and around half of these are produced directly by livestock. Also, it is a lot easier to produce than plant growing.
Giving up on livestock won’t have such a big impact on the environment
Therefore, many thought that suddenly giving up meat should automatically cause greenhouse gas emissions to drop. However, the change that would occur would not be so drastic. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found out that emissions would drop only by 28 percent on a global scale. This means only 2.5 percent of America’s greenhouse gas production.
This happens mostly because not only livestock produce such gases. There’s always some waste which remains after the harvest and, if it doesn’t get eaten by animal, it ends up burned to produce energy. Also, feeding an entire country with plants and no meat would require a lot of fertilizer. Both of these processes would end up releasing millions of tons of carbon into the air, so going vegan is not a feasible solution.
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