Almost any vegan is quick to tout the diet's benefits, from never feeling guilty after a meal to learning to deal with critical people to saving money. Well, it turns out that being a vegan might mean you're also helping to save the environment ... or, at least harm it a lot less than your meat-eating friends (or foes).
According to a new report published in the journal Climate Change, each meat-eater is responsible for nearly 50% more greenhouse gas emissions than each pescatarian, more than 50% more emissions than each vegetarian and for approximately 100% more emissions than for each vegan. That means that a meat-eater has, on average, twice the carbon footprint of a vegan. OMG.
The study compared the greenhouse gas emissions of 55,000 meat-eaters, pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans in the U.K., based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
The report notes that "animal-based products generally [have] much greater emissions than plant-based products." This discrepancy is related to inefficiencies in growing crops to be used as animal feed, and methane produced by the animals themselves.
Based on the staggering numbers, the researchers say, "Reducing the intake of meat and other animal based products can make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation."
Great job, vegans!