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Dr. Amy Trauger's New Research Suggests Plant-Only Diets May Not Be Key to Saving the Planet

Dr. Trauger laughs, standing next to a horse

An entirely plant based diet has long been suggested as the most environmentally friendly way to eat. However, new research from University of Georgia Geography professor Dr. Amy Trauger suggests that a diet of mostly plants and humanely raised meat is likely the most ethical way to eat with regard to the protection of human rights and our environment.

“There’s nothing sustainable about this plant-based model,” says Dr. Trauger. “It is really just a lot of greenwashing. You really don’t have to look very far to see how problematic this narrative is.” Dr. Trauger’s research focuses on commodities which are produced under the guise of being ethical but may in fact be causing socio-ecological harm. Dr. Trauger’s research makes the case for adopting a new ethical framework which includes the limited consumption of animal products. Dr. Trauger's study discusses the environmentally taxing production of soybean products like tofu and tempeh. Similarly, Dr. Trauger shows that local ecosystems in various countries have been devastated by palm oil production, the industry of which has been denounced for alleged human rights abuses. “People prioritize the lives of livestock and domesticated farm animals over the lives of the people who grow palm oil or soybeans,” Trauger said. “Corporations love to market to people that eating this way will make a difference in the world, but it won’t.” This study argues that a paradigm shift in the meat production industry could help mitigate climate change. This shift includes raising meat in a way which benefits local ecosystem health, and harvesting that meat on a small scale by a well paid staff with transparent supply chains. “There’s definitely an argument for reducing the amount of meat that we eat, but we can get a good deal of our protein needs met with a small amount of animal products like meat or eggs. Meanwhile things like avocados, coconuts, cacao and cof


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