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Oxford Study 2018: Reducing foods environmental impacts through producers and consumers

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About

Sometimes referred to as The Oxford Study, this 2018 work[1][2] has been called "the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet."[3]

The study examined 38,700 farms in 119 countries, representing 90% of the world's protein and calorie consumption. It emphasized the importance of dietary change toward plant-based substitutes in mitigating environmental damage.

Joseph Poore of Oxford, who led the study, said that "A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth…It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car."[3]

He added that "avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.”[3]

Findings

  • Moving to a diet that excludes animal products has transformative potential, including:
    • a 76% reduction in land use
    • a 49% reduction in greenhouse emissions from farming
    • a 50% reduction in ocean acidification
    • a 49% reduction in eutrophication (excess runoff choking off oxygen and killing animals).
  • Animal agriculture uses 83% of farmland while producing only 18% of total calories and 37% of calories from protein.
  • Even the lowest impact bovine meat is responsible for six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land than the production of plant-based protein.

Footnotes

Meta

This article was originally authored by Greg Fuller. The contents may have been edited since that time by others.