Plant-based Alternatives: 5 Ways They Benefit the Planet
Over the past decade, people have become increasingly interested in plant-based diets. In fact, there has been a 600% increase in people turning vegan in the U.S. since 2014.
Because of this, the plant-based foods market could make up roughly 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030, with a value of over $162 billion, up from $29.4 billion in 2020.
Although initially promoted for their gambit of health benefits, recent studies have shown that switching to a plant-based diet has a list of environmental benefits too.
The following infographic by Billy Goat Brands (CSE: GOAT) (“GOAT”) explores the environmental impacts of conventional meat production and how plant-based alternatives can lessen this impact and be a viable dietary solution for the future.
Environmental Benefits of Plant-based Alternatives
Increased population growth has caused meat production to increase exponentially. The livestock sector is one of the most significant contributors to urgent environmental problems. Conventional meat production is responsible for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases.
Water, land, and ocean conservation have become a major concern for livestock breeding and meat production. It also causes a loss of soil nutrients, leaving land unusable in the future.
Here are five ways in which the production of plant-based alternatives benefit the environment:
- Climate Change: The production of plant-based meats causes very low greenhouse gas emissions and can in fact reduce emissions caused by conventional meat production by 70%.
- Land Conservation: Switching to a plant-based diet could also reduce global agricultural land use from 4 to 1 billion hectares.
- Water Conservation: A plant-based diet can reduce water consumption by up to 50%, saving 14 trillion gallons of water annually.
- Cleaner Water: Creating plant-based alternatives does not require excessive spraying of chemicals and pesticides, reducing aquatic nutrient pollution.
- Ocean Conservation: Consumption of plant-based imitation fish can stop the practice of overfishing that has caused oceanic dead zones across the world.
Plant-based alternatives offer a solution to these problems. They produce minimal greenhouse gases and require a fraction of the cropland and water needed for conventional meat production.
Health Benefits of Consuming Plant-based Alternatives
Plant-based diets are considered to be naturally nutritious and healthy. For years, registered dietitians and food scientists have touted the perks of eating plants and cutting back on meat.
Here are some amazing benefits of choosing a plant-based diet:
Lower Your Blood Pressure
Several studies have shown that sticking with a plant-based diet can reduce blood pressure, reducing your risk of further health complications. A recent study also found that vegetarians had a 34% lower risk of developing hypertension than those who consume meat.
Prevent Type-2 Diabetes
Our diet and diseases like type 2 diabetes have had a long-standing link. Plant-based diets, especially when rich in high-quality plant foods, are associated with a substantially lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes by over 30%.
Provide Healthy Body BMI
Studies have shown that the mean BMI for vegans was 23.6, while for nonvegetarians, it was 28.8, which qualifies as overweight. The various fibers and antioxidants in plant-based foods reduce fatty lipids in the body and promote a healthy BMI.
Decrease Your Risk of Cancer
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR ), the best way to source cancer-protective nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, is to eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and some animal foods.
Improve Brain Capacity
There is veritable proof that a plant-based diet may improve the cognitive functions of your body. In some rare cases, it is linked to enhancing impairments in Alzheimer’s patients and reducing the risk of dementia.
Most Popular Plant-based Alternatives
There are a variety of plant-based alternatives that are available for consumption in the market today. Meat and milk alternatives are the most popular types of current plant-based alternatives available. Many popular fast-food chains have now adopted using plant-based meats in their menus.
Similarly, in order to combat the extreme exploitation of fisheries worldwide, efforts are being made to create plant-based seafood alternatives for consumption.
Through brands like Sophie’s Kitchen, Billy Goat Brands (CSE: GOAT) gives people the opportunity to invest in companies that offer healthy and environmentally conscious plant-based alternatives for consumption.
Go to billygoatbrands.com to learn more about investing in a plant-based future today.
Visualizing America’s Electric Vehicle Future
The U.S. is accelerating its transition to electric vehicles but obtaining the minerals and metals required for EVs remains a challenge. In this infographic, we explore America’s transportation future.
Visualizing America’s Electric Vehicle Future
The U.S. is accelerating its transition to electric vehicles (EV) to address climate change. However, obtaining the minerals and metals required for EV batteries remains a challenge.
Then, we look at how this strategy could be fueled by domestic mining and battery recycling.
The All-Electric America
Gasoline-powered cars are one of the biggest sources of carbon pollution driving the climate crisis. As a result, the Biden Administration has set a target for EVs to make up 50% of all new car sales in the U.S. by 2030. Today, fewer than 1% of the country’s 250 million vehicles are electric.
In November 2021, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which includes:
- Replacing the government’s 650,000 vehicle motor pool with EVs.
- Electrifying 20% of the country’s 500,000 school buses.
- Investing $7.5 billion to build out a network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers across the country.
The idea also has popular support. According to a poll, 55% of voters in the U.S. support requiring all new cars sold in their state to be electric starting in 2030.
However, rising EV sales are already driving demand for battery metals such as nickel, lithium, and copper, threatening to trigger a shortage of these key raw materials. So, does the U.S. have the raw materials needed to meet this rising demand?
Currently, the U.S. is import-dependent with large parts of the battery supply chain captured by China. Likewise, some essential metals for EVs are currently extracted from countries that have poor labor standards and high CO2 footprints.
Nickel in the Land of Opportunity
The Biden Administration’s 100-day review of critical supply chains recommended the government should prioritize investing in nickel processing capability.
Today, the only operating nickel mine in the U.S., the Eagle Mine in Michigan, ships its concentrates abroad for refining and is scheduled to close in 2025.
To fill the supply gap, Talon Metals is developing the Tamarack Nickel Project in Minnesota, the only high-grade development-stage nickel mine in the country. Tesla has recently signed an agreement to purchase 75,000 metric tonnes of nickel in concentrate from Tamarack.
Since the development and construction of a mine can take many years, recycling is considered an essential source of raw material for EVs.
The Role of Battery Recycling
Battery recycling could meet up to 30% of nickel and 80% of cobalt usage in electric vehicles by the end of the decade.
The bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill already sets aside $6 billion for developing battery materials processing capacity in the United States.
By 2030, the U.S. alone is projected to have more than 218,000 tonnes of EV battery manufacturing scrap and 313,000 tonnes of end-of-life EV batteries per year, presenting a massive opportunity for recycling. Currently, Li-Cycle, a leading lithium-ion battery recycler in North America, can process up to 10,000 tonnes of battery material per year—and this capacity is set to grow to up to 30,000 tonnes by the end of 2022.
Li-Cycle also has a hydrometallurgy refinement hub under construction in Rochester, New York, which will process up to the equivalent of 225,000 EV batteries annually into battery-grade lithium, nickel, and cobalt when it is operational in 2023.
America’s Electric Vehicle Future
The auto industry’s future “is electric, and there’s no turning back,” according to President Biden. It’s expected that EV sales in the U.S. will grow from around 500,000 vehicles in 2021 to over 4 million in 2030.
With rising government support and consumers embracing electric vehicles, securing the supply of the materials necessary for the EV revolution will remain a top priority for the country.
Retirement Spending: How Much Do Americans Plan to Spend Annually?
Retirement expenses can vary significantly from person to person. In this graphic, we show the range of expected retirement spending.
Americans’ Expected Annual Retirement Spending
Planning for retirement can be a daunting task. How much money will you need? What will your retirement spending look like?
It varies from person to person, based on factors like your health, outstanding expenses, and desired lifestyle. One helpful trick is to break it down into how much you estimate you’ll spend each year.
In this graphic from Personal Capital, we show the expected annual retirement spending of Americans. It’s the last in a three-part series that explores Americans’ spending and savings.
The Range of Retirement Spending
To determine how much people expect to spend, we used anonymized data from users of Personal Capital’s retirement planning tool. It’s worth noting that these users are proactive regarding financial planning. They also have a median net worth of $829,000 compared to the $122,000 median net worth of the U.S. population overall.
Here is the range of expected annual retirement spending.
|Expected Annual Retirement Spending||Percent of People|
Users are a mix of single individuals and people in a relationship. In all cases, expected retirement spending is what the household expects to spend annually.
The most commonly-cited expected spending amount is $60,000. Interestingly, this is roughly in line with what Americans spend annually on their credit cards. This suggests that people may be using their current bills to help gauge their future retirement spending.
Median spending, or the middle value when spending is ordered from lowest to highest, falls at $70,000. However, average spending is a fair amount higher at $100,000. This is because the average is calculated by adding up all the expected retirement spending amounts and dividing by the total number of users. Higher expected spending amounts, some in excess of $300,000 per year, skew the average calculation upwards.
Of course, given their higher net worth, it’s perhaps not surprising that many Personal Capital users expect to spend larger amounts in retirement. How does this compare to the general population? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans age 65 and older spend about $48,000 per year on average.
Chances of Retirement Success
Once you’ve determined how much you’ll spend in retirement, your next step may be to wonder if your savings are on track. Based on an assessment of Personal Capital retirement planner users, here is the breakdown of people’s chance of success.
The good news: more than half of people have an 80% or better chance of meeting their retirement spending goals. This means they have sufficient financial assets and are contributing enough, regularly enough, to meet their expected spending amount. The not so good news: one in five people has a less than 50% chance of meeting their goals.
This problem is even more troublesome in the overall U.S. population. Only 50% of people have a retirement account, and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates half of today’s workers are unprepared for retirement.
Setting Your Own Retirement Spending Goals
While seeing the goals of others is a starting point, your annual retirement spending will be very specific to you. Not sure where to start?
Financial planners typically recommend that you should plan on needing 70-80% of your pre-retirement income in retirement. This is because people generally no longer have certain expenses, such as commuting or childcare costs, when they retire. However, keep in mind your expenses could be higher if you still have a mortgage, encounter unforeseen medical expenses, or want to splurge on things like travel when you retire.
It requires some upfront planning, but being realistic about your retirement spending can give you confidence in your financial future.
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