Climatic changes are captivating attention and has become a serious concern across the globe. Scientists and researchers are trying to find a way to reduce its affect. Among all the sources contributing to global warming, food production is a prominent one. Further, poultry farming and animal husbandry are the major contributor of greenhouse gases. Besides, consumption of animal based food is one of the main reasons of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
According to an Otago medical student- Jono Drew, who also happens to be lead researcher- current food system is responsible for both climatic crisis as well as rising incidence of chronic diseases.
Hence, substituting animal based food with plant based food will not only cut the greenhouse emission but also, reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Greenhouse Gasses Level Reduces by Consumption of Green Food Items
To estimate the emission rate of greenhouse gas from food, the research team developed a New-Zealand specific food emissions database. The databases constitute of a table of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life-cycle of each food. The life-cycle begins from farming, processing, packaging, transportation, storage, distribution, and ends on supermarket overheads. Later, by using the database, the team tried to model health system, climate, and healthcare cost that get impacted due to dietary scenarios.
It came out that the impact of animal-based food items have greater impact on climatic crisis comparatively. The plant based food such as legumes, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits do not harm the environment on wider scale. Also, consumption of such food items tend to reduce health risks. Thereby, cutting on healthcare cost.
The research team came to a conclusion that dietary shift towards green food items can help reduce the greenhouse emission as well as the healthcare cost. As per researchers, the greenhouse emission will decrease by 4 to 42 percent. At the same time, health gains of between 1.0 to 1.5 million will be achieved. Also, cost saving of NZD $14 to $20 billion can be done over entire lifetime of entire New Zealand population.