It’s time we’ve had a serious discussion about industrialized animal agriculture.

This destructive industry currently occupies over half of the world’s arable land resources, uses the majority of our freshwater stores, and drives more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined. This system causes rampant air and water pollution, land degradation, deforestation and is pushing countless species to the brink of extinction. And yet, despite all of the resources used and pollution created, one in eight people still suffer from food scarcity.

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Long story short, saying that the animal agriculture industry is unsustainable is an understatement. And now we have yet another study that confirms just how bad it is. GoCompare Energy (GCE) found that meat-eaters produce double the carbon dioxide than those that follow a vegan diet.

In a new report by the research company, using their carbon calculator, GCE determined that people who eat meat daily produce 2.8 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

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That’s compared to 1.5 tons for those who consume vegetarian diets and only 1.1 tons produced annually by vegans. To put that in context, the average car produces around six tons of carbon dioxide a year.  “Making minimal changes to your day can make a huge difference, especially when everyone does it,” GCE spokesperson Ben Wilson told VegNews Magazine. Curious to see your carbon footprint? You can take a test on GCE’s website and found out!

Knowing all that we do about the impact of meat consumption on the environment and animals, we are faced with a choice – either we can continue to be sold into this destructive industry … or we can choose better.

You can start eating for the planet by doing nothing more than choosing a delicious plant-based meal over one laden with animal products. If you look at it from a personal perspective, you can cut your own carbon footprint in half just by leaving meat off your plate for one year. (Plus save a lot of water, redirect grain for people to eat, and help protect endangered species…)

You can #EatForThePlanet starting today. Just follow the three simple steps below.

1. Moderate: Limit consumption of your favorite meats like beef, lamb, pork, etc.

2. Replace: Try to swap animal-based products in your daily diet with vegan alternatives (milk, butter, mayo, cheese, grilled chicken, beef crumbles, sausages, cold cuts, etc.)

3. Embrace: Add plant-based whole foods (local and organic when possible) to your diet like greens, fresh fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, plant proteins like lentils, nuts/seeds, beans, tofu, etc.

As Nil Zacharias, the co-founder of One Green Planet says, “Eat in a way that nourishes you without starving the planet.”

We all have the power to create a better future for our children, and the countless animals we share the planet with, by making one easy swap. If you’re ready to start doing this in your own life, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.

Lead image source: RachelKolokoffHopper/Shutterstock