I’ve always had an interest in sustainability, and how my daily habits and actions can have an impact. It was this interest that pushed me to learn about what habits are the most impactful, and where my individual choices can go the furthest. One crucial aspect of sustainability lies in our food choices. Choosing to eat in a more sustainable way, primarily focusing on plant-based eating, can have a profound impact on our planet. 

One study from WorldWatch shows that Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet stands out as one of the most sustainable choices we can make, and a choice that we can make three times a day with what we put on our plate! In this article, we will explore the reasons why eating a predominantly plant-based diet is a powerful step towards creating a more sustainable future, and some great ideas to get you started.

Reducing Our Environmental Impact

The environmental benefits of a vegan diet are incredible. Animal agriculture, without taking into account its byproducts (feeding, land use, transportation), is responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. It is a leading cause of deforestation, mainly driven by the expansion of land for grazing and growing animal feed. Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land, with 136 million rainforest acres cleared for animal agriculture. This level of deforestation not only contributes to climate change but also leads to the loss of valuable habitats for countless species. By eating plant-based we can help curb deforestation rates and protect the biodiversity that depends on these ecosystems.

Conserving Water Resources

Water scarcity is a growing concern in many parts of the world. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to water depletion, as livestock requires substantial amounts of water for drinking and irrigation. It takes around 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef… let that sink in. To put it into perspective, one pound of beef would be in a recipe for a Spaghetti Bolognese serving maybe 4-5 people. Now picture in your mind’s eye a big 1 gallon bottle of water, times that by 2,500. That’s how much water it takes to produce the spag bowl, a whopping 40,000 cups! Comparatively, we need roughly 25 gallons for one pound of wheat. By opting for plant-based alternatives, we can conserve water resources and reduce our impact on this vital global issue.

How To Educate Yourself 

A big part of going plant-based is knowing your why and keeping that centre of mind. Of course, for so many of us, deciding to eat in a sustainable way for the planet can clash with our love of the food we’re having to give up or reduce. That’s where the facts come in – they keep propping up your decision and your why. Instead of thinking that you’re giving up food you love, instead, you’re driven by your active choice to eat with the planet in mind. My favourite way to learn is to watch and read. Here are a few of my favourite resources:

Cowspiracy The Sustainability Secret  – Documentary, Netflix

Cowspiracy is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organisations are too afraid to talk about it.

Before the Flood – Documentary, Disney Plus

Following Leonardo DiCaprio as he explores how climate change has impacted our planet. The film looks at many areas and industries that have caused the climate crisis, and any routes still available to reverse the damage. 

Protein, are you getting enough?–  Podcast, Spotify

From big steaks to protein shakes, tofu to seitan, protein is more available now than ever before. With so many options, surely we’re getting enough protein? In this podcast leading nutritional researcher breaks down how much protein we really need. If you’re a meat eater on the fence of eating plant based because of protein, this is the podcast for you. 

Enjoy Eating Plant-Based

Lean into the incredible flavours plant-based eating can bring. Start getting creative in the kitchen, and trying new recipes. Try our easy vegan nachos, vegan risotto, vegan jackfruit masala and vegan chocolate orange amaretto mouse for a trifecta of incredible plant based food. 

Visit some of the incredible plant based restaurants your town or city has to offer. In London my go-to’s are Mallow and Bubala. In Los Angeles, Gracias Madre and Crossroads.

By making conscious choices about what we put on our plates, we can contribute to a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations. So start today, watch a movie, consume some fantastic foodie facts and let’s embrace the power of a vegan diet, and the power of our choices.

words by Saskia Gregson-Williams