World Environmental Health Day

World Environmental Health Day is celebrated each year on 26th September. The goal of this day is to prioritize environmental health worldwide and focus on building healthier communities. On this day, we must all take time to introspect on how we contribute to environmental health. 

According to research, there’s a significant link between our diet, the environment, and health. Simple choices that we make each day can greatly affect our environment. For example, choosing and shifting toward plant-based foods can improve not just our health but also the health of our planet. 

How a plant-based diet can help improve environmental health

Woman preparing a pumpkin soup

A plant-based diet can affect environmental health in the following ways:

1. Reducing the effects of climate change

Animal farming is one of the leading causes of global warming and climate change. It leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Research shows that 7.1 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide per year is released in the form of emissions due to cattle farming. However, shifting to a plant-based diet can greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Opting for plant foods instead of animal products can help the world reduce its carbon footprint. 

2. Saving water

Agriculture is the sector that consumes the largest amounts of water, accounting for approximately 70% of freshwater consumption. Animal farming and the meat and dairy industry rank first in agricultural water consumption and wastage. One pound of beef needs 1,800 gallons of water. Accordingly, choosing a plant-based diet can help save considerable amounts of water.

3. Saving agricultural land 

About 40% of Earth’s ice-free land is used for agriculture. Animal products leave a large environmental footprint on our croplands because most of the land is used for grazing, growing feed, and animal farming. Switching to a plant-based diet can help us free up a large portion of agricultural land, which can instead be used to grow crops to feed our growing population.

4. Reducing world hunger

Animal farming involves an inefficient use of natural resources like land and water. Most of the agricultural land is used to grow feed for animals in factory farms. A huge population of the world suffers from hunger due to the lack of sufficient food.  A plant-based diet eliminates the wastage of land and water and allows the reallocation of resources for human consumption. This could help alleviate world hunger. 

5. Improving health

Animal products like processed meat and dairy are unhealthy. High-fat content and low fiber in animal products can be major causes of long-term conditions like obesity, heart problems, and diabetes. Avoiding animal products and including more plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables, in your diet can improve your health, prevent diseases, and improve your longevity.

6. Preventing future pandemics

Animals and animal products are often sold in live animal markets in various countries. These markets are breeding grounds for deadly viruses like the coronavirus. Choosing plant-based alternatives can help us stop live animal markets and prevent future pandemics. This can help improve our health and environmental health. 

Accordingly, let us celebrate the essence of World Environmental Health Day by extending compassion to helpless animals and ensuring that we make simple but meaningful choices to protect ourselves and our planet.

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