We seem to be quickly destroying the planet. Now more than ever before, we need to start taking actions that will lead us down the path of a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

So what is the solution?

To be perfectly frank, there is no one-size-fits-all solution; however, the most significant contributor to climate change and pollution is the animal agriculture industry.

According to Climate Nexus and the Humane Society, the animal agriculture industry is responsible for 14.5 percent (7.1 gigatons of CO2) of all global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). This means that the animal agriculture business is producing more pollution than the entirety of world transportation.

Sixty percent of the pollution they create is from nitrogen, which has 300 times the global warming potential of CO2. Not only is the animal agricultural industry responsible for being the second-largest contributor of GHG, but they also have a tremendous effect on water scarcity and deforestation.  

Based on information released by the USDA, it is estimated that the animal agriculture industry is responsible for 55 percent of the world’s water consumption. According to the Rainforest Partnership, the production of beef is the most significant contributor to deforestation equaling 65 percent of all deforestation in the Amazon.

By taking steps to integrate more plant-based foods into our diets, we can cut our GHG emissions drastically. If one were to go on a more plant-based diet, they could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent, and save 150,000 gallons of water annually.

The best step for the environment is to cut out meat entirely; however, this is not feasible for everyone. With this in mind, the EPA conducted a study, which found that if everyone were to go vegetarian for one day a week, we could reduce our emissions by 1.2 million tons.

If you wish to try cutting back on your meat consumption, start slowly: a change in total diet will not happen overnight. Make sure you do your research. It is not impossible, or even difficult, to get enough protein on a plant-based diet. It is entirely different, however. Get cooking!

There are billions of fantastic plant-based recipes all over the internet that won’t leave you feeling as though you are giving anything up. Take this time to explore new foods and recipes that you would not have considered before.

Going plant-based will not mean you have to give up your social life either. the majority of restaurants today have some kind of plant-based option.

Try a veggie burger.

And, lastly, be patient with yourself; you may not get it right the first time. Just keep reminding yourself of why you started, and what going plant-based means to you. You do not have to have a perfectly strict vegan diet to help reduce the planets carbon footprint, every little bit helps and benefits the earth in some way, shape or form.