Food & LifeStyle editor Ciara Landy weights up the environmental benefits of switching to a low-meat diet, and picks out some of the best documentaries and studies raising awareness on the issue.

Animal agriculture and meat consumption are significant contributors to global warming that can no longer be ignored.  The US Food & Agriculture Organisation has estimated that meat consumption is set to double from 2000 to 2050, adding to an already unsustainable food production model that is wreaking havoc on the earth’s environment and endangered ecosystems. Going vegan, vegetarian or simply cutting back on meat can make a huge impact on your carbon footprint. A study conducted by Oxford found that meat-rich diets (more than 100g of meat per day) amounted to 7.2kg of carbon dioxide emissions per day, a stark contrast with vegetarian and fish-eating diets which caused about 3.8kg of CO2 per day and vegan diets that produced only 2.9kg – definitely food for thought.


This feature length documentary, available to stream on Netflix, examines the reluctance of many environmentalist organisations and leaders to discuss the issue of animal agriculture and its environmental impact and the price of such silence on the future of the planet. The documentary takes the viewer on gradual but fascinating journey that ends up leaving you inevitably questioning the hypocrisy of current ‘green politics’.

Forks Over Knives

Also available to stream on Netflix, ‘Forks over Knives’ highlights the numerous benefits of eating a plant-based diet and investigates the link between animal products and degenerative disease.

Before the Flood

Looking for a quick fix of Leo Dicaprio? The veteran actor stars in and narrates climate-change documentary ‘Before the Flood’, travelling to various regions around the globe and meeting with scientific and world leaders, exposing the effects of man-made global warming and exploring potential solutions. ‘Before the Flood’ is available to stream free of charge on YouTube.

The China Study

Since its original publication date in 2005, ‘The China Study’ has sold over 1 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books on nutrition worldwide. The book is based upon the findings of ‘The China-Cornell-Oxford Project’, one of the largest observational studies on human nutrition that took place in rural China in the 1980s. In its findings, ‘The China Study’ advocates a whole-foods plant-based vegan diet as well as emphasising the relationship between animal product consumption and illnesses such as breast cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease. It is a must read for anyone considering transitioning to a plant-based diet, or seeking an academic source on the topic.


Ciara Landy | Food & Lifestyle Editor