It's now widely known that making the choice to eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables actually helps the environment. As livestock of all kinds-- chicken, cows, lambs, et cetera-- eat their own food and burn their own energy (resulting in greenhouse gas emissions), this contributes to climate change. Imagine 7 billion people (and growing) on earth, all driving production of livestock for food...the environmental impacts are catastrophic.
Dietary changes among the human population could make an incredible impact, both for public health (eating a plant-based diet is healthier for all of us in general) and the natural environment. And additionally, a recent study concluded it could make a huge financial impact, saving up to a trillion dollars (at a minimum) in public health funding, healthcare, lost working days (the health risks that go along with a meat-centric diet are long-documented), and climate-related damages.
We understand that putting a monetary value on personal health and the environment is a complex issue. But the bottom line is, making some dietary changes could make a huge difference in our society as a whole. It's a huge endeavor, to say the least, to convince the world's population to eliminate meat from their diets, or even just to eat less meat.
And ironically, it's the first world countries that are making the most negative impact on the environment in terms of meat-eating and poor diet. Nonetheless, the above mentioned facts about the effects of a meat-centric diet on the environment, our personal health, and the health of the nation's economy make a pretty strong case for change.
As always, reduce, reuse, recycle, and conserve. Small, everyday changes can make a huge difference.