It has all the makings of a delicious smoothie — a dollop of almond butter, an avocado, a few slices of mango, a handful of blueberries, a sprinkle of cocoa powder and perhaps a glug of soya milk. As a tasty, vegan-friendly drink to start your day, it is packed with nutrients and will do wonders for your health. But it may be doing far less good for the planet. Research by Angelina Frankowska, who studies sustainability at the University of Manchester, recently found that asparagus eaten in the UK has the highest carbon footprint compared to any other vegetable eaten in the country, with 5. She and her colleagues found, in fact, that the succulent green stalks have the largest environmental footprint of any of the 56 vegetables they looked at, including its land use and water use which was three times greater than the next highest. Without carefully considering where our food comes from and how it is grown, our diets can have unintended consequences. Take the strange case of two vegans in an Italian study who were found to have an environmental impact considerably higher than many meat-eaters. When the researchers dug a little further, they discovered the pair exclusively ate fruit. We collected their data in the summer so they especially ate watermelons and cantaloupes.
We all need clean water. No doubt about it. HOW to get it and keep it running clean and plentiful is becoming a problem almost everywhere. In fact, the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization FAO predicts in a report titled Livestock’s Long Shadow, that by , two-thirds of people worldwide will lack clean water to meet even their basic needs. The good news is that one part of the solution is easy and close at hand! It all starts with your fork. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation. Did you know that the largest user of fresh water is the livestock industry? Water is directly needed for drinking and cleaning of animals. And that’s a lot of water when we’re talking about over 10 billion animals raised for food in the United States alone every year.
To maintain planetary health, human activities must limit the use of Earth’s resources within finite boundaries and avoid environmental degradation. At present, food systems account for a substantial use of natural resources and contribute considerably to climate change, degradation of land, water use, and other impacts, which in turn threaten human health through food insecurity. Additionally, current dietary patterns, rich in animal products and excessive in calories, are detrimental to both population and planetary health. In order to resolve the diet-environment-health trilemma, population-level dietary changes are essential. Vegetarian diets are reported to be healthy options. Most plant-sourced foods are less resource intense and taxing on the environment than the production of animal-derived foods, particularly meat and dairy from ruminants.