Top Pro & Con Arguments


Dairy milk is bad for the environment.

Cows account for 30.6% of global human-made methane emissions. By comparison, fossil fuels make up 35.9% of global emissions, and these are generally thought of as climate change culprits. We should be just as concerned about these cow-based emissions. [21]

Methane, released by ruminant animals (among other sources), is considered the second most important greenhouse gas to control after carbon dioxide. [21]

Dairy-based products should also concern us. Cheese production ranks only behind lamb and beef in carbon dioxide emissions and is responsible for 13.5 kilos of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilo of product produced. A kilo of cheese (about 2.2 pounds) has approximately the same carbon footprint as driving 34 miles. Eating 30 grams of cheese three to five times a week for a year has the same carbon footprint as driving 514 miles or heating a home for 31 days. [22] [23] [24] [25]

Dairy milk also has a much larger overall environmental impact than plant-based dairy alternatives, like soy and oat milk. Per liter, dairy milk creates 10.65 kilograms (kg) of eutrophication, uses 628 liters of water, and requires 8.95 square miles. By comparison, the next highest in each category: rice milk creates 4.69kg of eutrophication, almond milk uses 371.46 liters of water, and oat milk requires 0.76 square miles. [26]

According to John Lynch, who researches climate effects of meat and dairy production at Oxford University, “There are big climate risks for all of us if we don’t get on top of food system emissions.” [21]

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