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Gidon Eshel

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Gidon Eshel

Gidon Eshel is an American geophysicist best known for his quantification of the "geophysical consequences of agriculture and diet".[1] As of 2017, he is research professor at Bard College in New York. He is known for his research on the environmental impacts of plant-based diets.[2]


Eshel studied physics and earth sciences at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, before obtaining a Master of Arts (MA) degree, MPhil, and a PhD on mathematical physics at Columbia University. His Ph.D. thesis at Columbia was titled Coupling of deep water formation and the general circulation : a case study of the Red Sea.[3] Eshel was then a postdoctoral NOAA Climate & Global Change (C&GC) Fellow at the Harvard Department for Earth & Planetary Physics, a Staff Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and also a faculty member of department of geophysics at the University of Chicago.[4] Eshel also advises Bluefield Technologies on livestock methane emissions.[5]


Gidon Eshel's early research found that the mean American diet that is rich in animal products such as red meat releases more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere than a lacto-ovo vegetarian, poultry-based, pescatarian, or vegan diet.[6] Compared with a plant-based diet, the mean American diet results in 1,500 kilograms of CO2 per person annually.[6] He has campaigned against beef consumption as cattle grazing increases greenhouse gas production and negative environmental impacts such as wildlife displacement, soil erosion and damage to river systems.[6][7] He has commented that "save going all-out vegan, the most impactful change that you can make is to ditch beef altogether and replace it with poultry—just beef to poultry".[6]

Recent examples of his work compare several livestock and land and water use, fertiliser-based water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions per factor unit of product. His highest cited paper is "Forecasting Zimbabwean maize yield using eastern equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature" at 445 times, according to Google Scholar.[8]

In 2019, it was reported in the Scientific American that Eshel and his colleagues published findings in the Nature journal which found that "if all Americans switched away from meat, it would eliminate the need for pastureland and reduce the amount of high-quality cropland under cultivation by as much as 25 percent."[9] His research has shown that by switching to a plant-based diet it would eliminate about 80 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture in the United States.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Eshel supports plant-based diets and has described his own diet as "mostly vegan".[11]

Selected publications[edit]





  1. ^ "International Year of Fruits and Vegetables: Perspectives from an environmental physicist". Springer Nature. 2021. Archived from the original on June 5, 2023.
  2. ^ "Replacing Meat with Plant-Based Alternatives in American Diets Would Minimize Cropland Use and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says New Study Coauthored by Bard College Professor Gidon Eshel". Bard. 2019. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020.
  3. ^ Thesis: Gidon Eshel. Online Computer Library Center. OCLC 37131387. Retrieved 24 December 2017 – via WorldCat.
  4. ^ "Gidon Eshel, Research Professor". Bard Faculty. Bard College. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Bluefield Technologies". bluefield.co. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Rethinking the American Diet". Radcliffe Magazine.
  7. ^ "Grass-Fed Beef – bad for us and for the planet". Vegetarians of Washington.
  8. ^ "Gidon Eshel". Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  9. ^ "These Plants Can Replace Meat—but Will Doing So Help the Environment?". Scientific American.
  10. ^ "Eating for the Environment". Harvard Magazine.
  11. ^ "The Satya Interview with Gidon Eshel". Satya.
  12. ^ Author: Gidon Eshel. Online Computer Library Center. OCLC 778694025. Retrieved 24 December 2017 – via WorldCat.
  13. ^ Carrington, Damian (16 May 2011). "Meat is murder? More like suicide, argues Planeat film". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Gidon Eshel Ph.D". Before the Flood. National Geographic. Retrieved 24 December 2017.