There is a growing concern among some people that adopting a vegan lifestyle is unsustainable, and that it is not possible to feed the world's population through a plant-based diet. However, this argument fails to consider the long-term implications of animal agriculture on the planet's resources and ecosystem.
According to research conducted by the United Nations, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation industry combined (FAO, 2006). The production of meat and dairy products requires vast amounts of resources, including land, water, and fossil fuels, which are all non-renewable resources.
In contrast, plant-based foods require far fewer resources to produce, and their production has less impact on the environment. Research has shown that a plant-based diet requires approximately one-third of the land, water, and fossil fuels needed to produce a meat-based diet (Pimentel et al., 2003).
Moreover, the production of animal-based foods contributes to deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution, which has a significant impact on the environment. On the other hand, the production of plant-based foods is far more sustainable, as it does not lead to these environmental problems.
Furthermore, there are health benefits to adopting a plant-based diet. According to research conducted by the American Dietetic Association, a well-planned vegan diet is suitable for all stages of life and can provide all the necessary nutrients required for optimal health (Craig, Mangels, & American Dietetic Association, 2009).
Additionally, a plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
To summarize, the argument that going vegan is unsustainable is baseless. The production of animal-based foods requires vast amounts of resources and contributes significantly to environmental problems, whereas the production of plant-based foods is more sustainable and has fewer negative impacts on the environment. Additionally, a plant-based diet can provide all the necessary nutrients required for optimal health and can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Craig, W. J., Mangels, A. R., & American Dietetic Association. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(7), 1266-1282.
FAO. (2006). Livestock's long shadow: environmental issues and options. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Pimentel, D., Berger, B., Filiberto, D., Newton, M., Wolfe, B., Karabinakis, E., ... & Nandagopal, S. (2003). Water resources: agricultural and environmental issues. BioScience, 53(10), 909-918.
Tuso, P. J., Ismail, M. H., Ha, B. P., & Bartolotto, C. (2013). Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. The Permanente Journal, 17(2), 61.