The answer is complicated, all things being equal plant-based foods would most definitely lead to a more sustainable method of food production. Unfortunately, our agricultural and food production systems are far from all things being equal. It’s like many other industries, controlled by corporations using industrial methods to ensure maximum profit with little regard for sustainability or the environment.
Although cutting down on meat intake is crucial for sustainability, with our existing agricultural and economic systems, switching to a plant-based diet isn’t a magic bullet for environmental sustainability. However, it’s a good start.
It’s no secret that the farm system is far from perfect at best and a disaster at worst. Commercial and industrial agriculture systems are focused on lowering expenses while simultaneously increasing profits. Their strategies have been linked to soil health degradation, human health risks associated with mass pesticide use, and the pollution of water and soil.
Even more disturbing, large industrial farms account for only 1% of the global total of farms, yet they use 65% of all agricultural land. This implies that small independent farms have no chance to compete, especially those that are sustainable. If this sounds like a familiar system to you, and it should, this is a systemic problem. Large businesses with limitless resources dominate the food industry’s marketplaces.
As a result, going plant-based with our diets isn’t always more environmentally friendly. For it to be more effective and long-lasting, the system must be changed. Large organizations are typically focused on short-term profit margins. That is why you should be concerned about things like where your food is grown and its seasonality, as well as why supporting local farmers when you can is so vital.