11. SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

Study: Vegan Diets Could Reduce Air Pollution Deaths by Over 230,000 Per Year – vegconomist – the vegan business magazine

Study: Vegan Diets Could Reduce Air Pollution Deaths by Over 230,000 Per Year – vegconomist – the vegan business magazine
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Study: Vegan Diets Could Reduce Air Pollution Deaths by Over …  vegconomist – the vegan business magazine

Study: Vegan Diets Could Reduce Air Pollution Deaths by Over 230,000 Per Year – vegconomist – the vegan business magazine

The Link Between Diet and Air Pollution

A study published in the journal Nature Communications has examined the link between diet and air pollution, finding that plant-forward diets could lead to a significant reduction in emissions of harmful pollutants such as methane and ammonia.

Impact of Plant-Forward Diets on Air Pollution

Ammonia is generated when manure and other fertilizers are applied to fields, contributing to health issues such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Methane is produced by ruminant animals during digestion, forming ground-level ozone that can also affect the human respiratory system.

Since most food-related pollutants are generated by the production of animal products or feed, the researchers examined how three plant-forward dietary patterns — vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian — could impact air pollution. The results indicate that:

  1. Vegan diets could reduce agricultural emissions by 84-86%
  2. Vegetarian diets could lead to decreases of 69-70%
  3. Flexitarian diets could lead to decreases of 44-48%

However, there is considerable geographical variation, with the biggest potential drops seen in countries where livestock accounts for a large share of emissions.

Benefits of Reduced Air Pollution

These reductions could lead to a significant fall in premature mortality caused by air pollution, with vegan diets preventing an estimated 236,000 deaths worldwide per year. Furthermore, the improved air quality could improve labor productivity, increasing economic output by about $1.3 trillion.

Young farmer in soybean fields

©Bunge

“Crucial Solution”

Decreased air pollution is just one of a host of environmental benefits linked to plant-based diets; another recent paper found that deforestation could virtually be halted if half of animal foods were replaced with alternatives.

In July, a study described as the most detailed of its kind concluded that vegan diets could slash emissions and land use by 75%. The paper also found that plant-based diets could reduce water use by 54%, wildlife destruction by 66%, and methane production by a huge 93%. The same month, scientists told the European Commission that people should eat “as little animal products as possible” to combat climate change.

“It is encouraging to see the acknowledgment of plant-based diets as a crucial solution to some of our most pressing problems,” said Lucia Hortelano, EU Policy Manager at ProVeg, at the time. “We really hope the European Commission takes this advice from their scientific advisors seriously and implements respective policy measures to help more Europeans shift to plant-based diets.”

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination. Indicator: Reduction in premature mortality caused by air pollution
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Target 8.8: Protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment. Indicator: Increase in economic output due to improved air quality
SDG 13: Climate Action Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning. N/A
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally. N/A

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 15: Life on Land

Explanation:

The issues highlighted in the article are connected to multiple SDGs. The main focus is on the impact of plant-forward diets on air pollution and its effects on human health and economic productivity. This aligns with SDG 3, which aims to ensure good health and well-being by reducing deaths and illnesses caused by pollution. Additionally, the article mentions the potential halt of deforestation if animal foods were replaced with alternatives, which relates to SDG 15’s target of halting deforestation and promoting sustainable forest management. The call for reduced consumption of animal products to combat climate change also aligns with SDG 13, which focuses on climate action. Lastly, the mention of labor productivity improvement due to improved air quality connects to SDG 8, which aims to promote decent work and economic growth.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination.
  • Target 8.8: Protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.
  • Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.
  • Target 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

Explanation:

The article indirectly addresses several targets under the identified SDGs. Target 3.9 is relevant as it aims to reduce deaths and illnesses caused by air pollution, which can be achieved by reducing agricultural emissions through plant-forward diets. Target 8.8 is connected to the improvement of working environments, which can be achieved by reducing air pollution and its negative impacts on labor productivity. Target 13.2 emphasizes the integration of climate change measures into policies and planning, which can be achieved by promoting plant-forward diets as a climate-friendly solution. Lastly, Target 15.2 focuses on halting deforestation, which can be supported by replacing animal foods with alternatives and reducing the demand for livestock production.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • Reduction in premature mortality caused by air pollution
  • Increase in economic output due to improved air quality

Explanation:

The article mentions two indicators that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets. The reduction in premature mortality caused by air pollution can serve as an indicator for Target 3.9, as it reflects the effectiveness of plant-forward diets in reducing harmful pollutants and improving health outcomes. The increase in economic output due to improved air quality can be an indicator for Target 8.8, as it demonstrates the positive impact of reduced air pollution on labor productivity and economic growth.

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: vegconomist.com

 

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