In February, the top nutritional advisory panel in the United States, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, recommended that Americans should eat more plant-based foods and less meat for the sake of their own health and of the environment. A meat-eaters’ diet has twice the carbon footprint of a vegetarian diet. Beef, in particular, emits five times more greenhouse gases and requires 28 times more land and 11 times more water than chicken. Demand for meat is associated with deforestation worldwide to clear land for raising livestock, and meat requires more energy to produce than grains.
Climate Protection: Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Energy & Mobility: Reduces energy use from fertilizers, refrigeration, and transportation needed for meat production
Food & Water: Increases the food and water available for human consumption, and reduces algae blooms generated by livestock waste
Jobs & Assets: Saves money, as meat is more expensive than plant-based sources of protein
Health, Well-Being, & Safety: Lowers the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, and other chronic diseases
This post is part of a series on examples of multisolving, or climate-smart policies that simultaneously work to mitigate climate change while providing co-benefits such as the ones described above. The multiple benefits analysis was done using the FLOWER framework.