12 Environmental Benefits of a Plant Based Diet — A Case For Plant Based

A Case For Plant Based
3 min readSep 1, 2020


There are numerous health benefits to eating a plant based diet, but there are also plenty of environmental benefits to eating a plant based diet as well.

1. Saves on water consumption

  • It takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk
  • 1,850 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef
  • 667 gallons of water to produce one pound of butter
  • 2,052 gallons of water to produce one pound of leather from cows

In contrast:

  • It takes 300 gallons of water to produce one pound of rice
  • 34 gallons of water to produce one pound of potatoes
  • 99 gallons of water to produce one pound of apples
  • 26 gallons of water to produce one pound of tomatoes

2. Decreases greenhouse gas emissions

  • Livestock is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Methane produced by livestock is responsible for 39% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Global meat production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all trains, cars, and airplanes in the world. Combined.

3. Reduces air pollution

4. Slows climate change

  • Food production is responsible for about 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions, with animal agriculture accounting for most of that.
  • Additionally, there would be more trees to pull excess carbon out of the environment (see below).

5. Decreases deforestation

  • The production of livestock is the leading cause of deforestation. (The land is used to house animals and to grow their feed).
  • Production of livestock is responsible for 75–90% of the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon.

6. Saves earth’s depleting resources

7. Saves animal lives

8. Protects our oceans

9. Cuts down on animals’ loss of habitats and risk for extinction

10. Eliminates need for industrial factory farming

11. Meat production is an inefficient way to produce calories

  • 17% of the world’s calorie consumption comes from meat, while 83% comes from plant based foods.
  • Only 33% of the world’s protein consumption comes from meat and dairy.

12. Eating a plant based diet is more sustainable

  • Requires less energy for food production and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Feeding the world’s population in 2050 will require a 70% increase in global food production.
  • A diet centered around meat, fish, eggs, and dairy is the least sustainable.

Studies have shown that eating a vegan diet is the most sustainable, with more positive effects on the environment.

To further this point, I recommend watching these documentaries:

To put things into perspective, I like to use vegancalculator.com. For instance, in the 10 months that my husband and I have been vegan, we have saved approximately:

  • 665,500 gallons of water
  • 18,150 square feet of forest
  • 605 animal lives
  • 24,200 pounds of grain
  • 12,100 pounds of carbon dioxide

The environmental benefits of a plant based diet are astounding. However, even if you choose not to adopt a fully vegan diet and instead commit to vegetarian meals several times per week or cut down on meat and dairy consumption, this can have positive impacts as well.

The current trajectory that we are on is not sustainable, and it’s important we all work together to protect our planet and natural resources. Our choices today will have lasting impacts for generations to come. 💚

Originally published at https://acaseforplantbased.com on September 1, 2020.