Environmental Impact of Eating Plant Based

by Shawna Dolzonek

Consuming a plant based lifestyle does well for our bodies; does it impact the environment as well? Does our small change in diet really impact everyone on the planet?

A plant based lifestyle is one that consists of consuming only plants, fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds and beans (3). Animal products, animal byproducts, processed foods and dairy products are avoided.

Changing from an animal based diet to a plant based lifestyle can reduce the impact made on our planet by reducing the impact on fish, sea creatures and our oceans (4). By changing the way we eat, we can help contribute to saving tropical environments and savannahs almost as large as the United States itself(6).

Consuming animal products and animal byproducts contributes to water waste. It takes roughly 1950 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk (1) This is copious amounts of water for one gallon. When we multiply this times the hundreds of gallons of milk produced daily, this number is astounding. This is in comparison to the 300 gallons of water used to produce one pound of tofu (1). The gallons used for tofu are significantly lower than those used for producing cows milk (1).

Reducing our water waste can help to preserve the natural wetlands and marshes (2). This allows those areas to grow and thrive without humans intervening. This in turn supports the animals and the dynamic ecosystem that exists there. About 40% of our current land use is devoted to agriculture alone(5). This is almost half of our planet’s open land mass.

Recently we have been made more aware that greenhouse emissions are contributing to global warming. This is an issue that many of us feel strongly about. Globally, around 26% of greenhouse emissions come from the food we consume (2). Whereas, 58% of greenhouse emissions are produced from animal products (2). Animal products single handedly contribute more than half. 50% of farmed emissions come from beef and lamb alone (2). These numbers are scary and making a great impact on the world as we know it.

A plant based lifestyle helps to reduce these percentages and reduce the impact we are making on our planet (2). Not only can living a plant based lifestyle do wonders for our body, the earth will thank you in return.


  1. https://www.sustain.ucla.edu/our-initiatives/food-systems/the-case-for-plant-based/
  2. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49238749
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-a-plant-based-diet-and-why-should-you-try-it-2018092614760
  4. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/why-you-should-go-vegan-for-the-oceans-this-earth-day/
  5. https://www.pcrm.org/news/blog/how-eating-more-plants-can-save-lives-and-planet
  6. https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/new-research-says-plant-based-diet-best-for-planet-and-people