EFFECTS OF A PLANT-BASED DIET ON SOCIETY

In contrast to an omnivorous society, a plant-based diet has sustainable global effects.

Environment

Factory farming results in arable farming and high greenhouse gas emissions. Also, deforestation and water pollution are the consequences. It is self-explanatory: plant-based diets cause far less environmental damage than animal-based diets.

Health

A plant-based diet has numerous health benefits. For example, it reduces risks of heart disease and high blood pressure. Moreover, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer are less likely. Plant-based foods generally contain less saturated fat. They have more fibre, vitamins and minerals than animal-based foods.

Animal welfare

Animal welfare is essential for many who opt for a plant-based diet. For reasons of profit and to save time, we see animal-hostile practices. The number of intensive confinement and continuous use of antibiotics is increasing. Furthermore, there are still painful and anesthetic-free procedures. Last but not least, force-feeding is still used in factory farming. Do you think this is healthy to eat?

Resources

A plant-based diet is generally more resource-efficient than an animal-based diet. For example, producing 500 grams of animal protein requires significantly more land. It is with it to use less water and feed and switch to plants.

Economic efficiency

Switching to a plant-based diet could also have economic benefits. Plant-based foods are generally cheaper than animal products. Producing plant-based food also harbours new economic opportunities within production and distribution.

There are many reasons why a plant-based diet is preferable to an omnivorous one. A plant-based diet is more sustainable, healthier, and animal-friendly. It can be more efficient in resource consumption. Switching to a plant-based diet could also bring economic benefits. However, it should be noted that not all plant-based diets are of the same quality. An unhealthy plant-based diet can also be practised. For instance, a high proportion of processed foods with minor nutrient-rich whole foods.

TRANS-EUROPEAN RAIL NETWORK

The European Union developed a trans-European network (TEN-T) in 1996. The aim was to connect the entire continent without any gaps. The focus was on the railway, as no other mode of transport was more environmentally friendly. The project has been revised several times. The current form has been in place since 2013. The goal is an integrated network transporting people and goods across the continent. The TEN-T project was subdivided. A time frame was also set. The overall network connecting all regions is to be expanded by 2050. Essential sections must be integrated into the core network as early as 2030. This consists of a total of nine “multimodal corridors”. It will serve to coordinate the international expansion of the routes. Stakeholders are to be brought together, and resources pooled. “Multimodal” because the corridors combine modes of transport. For example, it harmonises rails, roads and waterways. With 15,000 kilometres of rail alone, the routes cover the whole of Europe. From Norway to southern Italy, from the Atlantic coast to the Black Sea. Half a dozen of the nine TEN corridors run more through Germany than any other European country.

The development of the European rail network is complex. Transport modes and infrastructures have to be brought together. Bridges must be built, railways and roads modernised, and bottlenecks eliminated. Power systems, safety concepts and track gauges need to be harmonised. The EU formulates guidelines and subsidises the expansion.

A comprehensive rail network connecting the whole of Europe is desirable. Such a connection requires the further development and expansion of existing railway networks. Moreover, it asks for the creation of new high-speed lines. This can only be realised through the cooperation of various interest groups. Railway and infrastructure operators and the European Union need to negotiate wisely.

Advantages of trans-European rail links

Lower carbon emissions 

Trains are more environmentally friendly modes of transport than aeroplanes and cars. The European Environment Agency estimates 14 times less carbon pollution than air transport. 

Increased mobility

A well-connected rail network can improve mobility for both passengers and freight. They are making it easier for people to move around Europe and transport goods.

Economic benefits

Investment in railway infrastructure can create jobs and boost economic growth. The International Union of Railways (UIC): a euro in railways generates three euros.

It depends on personal preference if it is more relaxing to travel by train than by plane. However, travelling by train can offer a more comfortable and scenic experience. Compared to travelling by air, there is more space and therefore more comfort. The ecological footprint is more sustainable.

Improving air quality

Rail operators can invest in efficient engines. Use cleaner fuels and carry out regular maintenance programmes to reduce emissions.

Train amenities

Increase comfortable seating, Wi-Fi, etc., to improve passenger comfort.

Noise reduction

Railway operators can take measures to reduce noise levels. They use quieter trains. Also, they erect noise barriers along the railway network of conurbations.

Sustainable catering options

Offer sustainable catering. They are made from organic food from local producers. Several experts support such options.

The European Environment Agency has published reports on the benefits of rail travel. A report from 2019 states that rail is the most beneficial mode of transport for up to 1000 kilometres. 

The World Resources Institute has published reports on food production and transport. Sustainable food production and transport reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It also improves social health.

Conclusion

Rail connectivity across Europe has many benefits, such as reduced carbon emissions. It increases mobility and economic growth. Various measures, supported by several experts, can be taken to improve air quality. Reducing noise levels, onboard amenities and a sustainable food supply. It ensures relaxed rail travel and improves the environmental footprint.


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