Vegan world would save millions of lives, pounds and the planet, scientists say

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» Vegan world would save millions of lives, pounds and the planet, scientists say

A global move to a vegan diet would prevent millions of human deaths, cut planet-warming emissions and save a billion dollars annually in healthcare costs and climate damage, scientists have found.

In the first ever study to estimate both the health and climate change impacts of a widespread adoption of a plant-based diet, Oxford Martin School found that by the mid-century it would:

• avert up to 8.1 million premature human deaths every year;

• reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70%; and

• save up to $1 billion per year in reduced global healthcare costs.

“How much more compelling independent research do policymakers need before they start accepting plant-based diets as the solution to health and environment crises? The sheer scale of the projected benefits speak for themselves,” said Jasmijn de Boo, CEO of The Vegan Society.

“Action is so desperately needed on climate change. But without a wholesale shift in our diets away from animal products, we will fail to meet our global warming targets by a long, long way. 

“It is up to Governments to encourage dietary transitions away from animal products. Our campaign, Grow Green, does exactly that, calling for subsidies for farmers diversifying away from animals into crop growing,” de Boo added.

The report’s lead author, Marco Springmann, agreed: "The value of these benefits makes a strong case for increased public and private spending on programmes aimed to achieve healthier and more environmentally sustainable diets.

"The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore a major driver of climate change. What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the global environment."

Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change, responsible for roughly 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the transport in the world combined. Yet unlike the transport, waste and energy sectors in which emissions reductions have repeatedly been attempted, the livestock industry escapes scrutiny.

Read more about our Grow Green campaign here.

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