United Nations Urges Worldwide Shift Away From Animal Products
A new United Nations report entitled Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production is the first of its stature to actually stress the necessity of moving away from meat and dairy. Specifically, the paper says that “impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth [and] increasing consumption of animal products [...] A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”
The report goes into detail about the consequences we can expect if business continues as usual. Increases in population and wealth have historically resulted in increased consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs, which they blame for the bulk of agriculture’s environmental impact. Agriculture is said to be responsible 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
It is now undeniable that we need to substantially reduce our use of animal products in order to prevent global catastrophe. The simplest way to do this is to adopt a vegan diet, which, in addition to avoiding all of animal agriculture’s ecological impacts, also spares the lives of dozens of animals each year- amounting to thousands over one’s lifetime. The American Dietetic Association calls a well planned vegan diet “healthful and nutritionally adequate […] for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes” and adds that it “may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”