Should Committed Environmentalists Choose to Adopt a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet?

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The environmental impacts of a diet based in animal products is well documented and is the source of much debate. According to a controversial United Nations report entitled Livestock's Long Shadow (2006),“The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” For those committed to reducing their environmental impacts, one solution would be to transfer to a vegetarian or even vegan diet. It is not necessarily ethical to prescribe one way of being for environmentalists all over the world, especially without thinking about differences in cultures. However, most committed environmentalists should adopt a
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Environmentalists take many different forms and are influenced by different perceptions of nature. Their definition of the environment may vary from person to person. Some view humans as separate from nature, while others view humans and nonhuman animals as part of the environment. This most directly affects how environmentalists and others view animals in our society. Environmentalists who are informed by various ideologies often lack a strong opinion about the treatment of animals in relation to diet and the environment. Arne Naess, who is credited with coining the term ‘deep ecology’ is vague stating that the killing of animals for human consumption is justified when it is a “vital human need” without much further clarification (Waller 1997). This stance has been criticised by Waller (1997, p. 191) who states, “To have no stand on vegetarianism is to have no practical stand on land use, availability of food, quality of human life, and the ethics of human-nonhuman interaction—an interaction which, for all of deep ecology's evasions, occurs always between the particular constituents of nature.”
Forms of Plant-based Diets
The spectrum of plant-based diets is much broader and complex than simply choosing not to eat meat. For example, The American Council on Science and Health differentiates vegetarianism into eight categories based

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