Avocados and almonds aren’t killing the planet–you’re thinking of animal agriculture.


An argument often used when arguing against veganism is the impact that producing foods such as almonds and avocados has on the environment.

Recent headlines suggest that the harvesting of these products causes significant water shortages and greenhouse gas emissions.

While there are certainly issues in the way current crops are source – just one kilogram of avocados demands 2,000 liters of water and California almonds average 10,240 liters per kilogram of kernels – the numbers simply don’t compare to the dairy and meat industries.

In 2016, 5.57 million metric tons of avocados were produced with the number of almonds produced even lower at 1.2 million in the 2017/18 period.

Comparably, 71.72 million metric tons of beef were produced in 2018 with the water footprint of meat from beef cattle at 15,000 m 3 /ton as a global average.

And while poultry and pork production have a lower impact on the environment and a lower water footprint, over 120 million metric tons of chicken and pork were produced last year.

The amount of milk produced is even higher with around 811 million metric tons of milk made in 2017.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has literally said livestock is the world’s largest user of land resources, “with grazing land and cropland dedicated to the production of feed representing almost 80% of all agricultural land. Feed crops are grown in one-third of total cropland, while the total land area occupied by pasture is equivalent to 26% of the ice-free terrestrial surface”.

Understanding the effects of almonds and avocados on our planet and ecosystem is necessary, but production of those foods should not be an argument for eating meat and dairy, which are significantly more harmful.

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