Reports from the United Nations Environment Programme (PDF) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) correlate a vegetarian diet to solving world hunger, ending poverty, and mitigating the worst impacts of climate change.

1. Zero Hunger
Every ten seconds, a child dies from hunger—or 3.1 million children per year—and that’s not counting adults.

2. Combat climate change
The greenhouse gases emitted by animal husbandry account for 18 percent of total greenhouse gas emitted. Animal husbandry leads to the discharge of methane (with a global warming potential twenty-three times that of carbon dioxide) and ammonia (most common base in acid rain), or 37 percent and 64 percent, respectively. As well, animal husbandry accounts for 65 percent of total nitrous oxide emissions by human beings—the global warming potential of nitrous oxide is 296 times that of carbon dioxide.

3. Halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss
Global warming is a challenge to the survival of biological species and leads to deforestation, pollution, and overfishing. Studies published in the journal Science in 2015 indicate that if no actions are taken to curb climate change, one-sixth of the animal species will go extinct.

Livestock grazing occupies 26 percent of planet’s land area (PDF); even more, it is the main driving factor of forest destruction. Land degradation and the spread of desertification lead to the loss of biodiversity in the marine ecosystem, resulting in water pollution, eutrophication, and the degradation of coral reefs.

A farmer can feed up to thirty people throughout the year with vegetables, fruits, cereals and vegetable fats on one hectare of land. If the same area is used for the production of eggs, milk, and/or meat, the number of people fed varies from five to ten.

4. Sustainable consumption and production
By 2050, the world population will reach 9.5 billion, 70 percent of which will live in resource-intensive urban areas. Three billion middle class consumers will join the global economy by 2040. To respond to these challenges within Earth’s carrying capacity, the adoption of sustainable patterns of consumption and production is an imperative, as it conserves through resource efficiency the basis for future development.

5. Ethical treatment of animals
Animals, as livestock, experience poor and cruel treatment on corporate farms, where they are raised as food, and abattoirs, where they are slaughtered for consumption as food. The lack of regulatory oversight and substandard living conditions mean that diseases in farmed animals proliferate as well as added hormones and pesticides—and this all ends up on your plate.

What you eat, how you eat, determines the future of the world.

Vege Plan A—Take action now!