If you’re seeking to reduce your carbon footprint and live as an ambassador for the planet, take a look at the food on your plate.
According to a climate think tank, adopting a predominantly plant-based diet will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent global warming from increasing to dangerous levels.
The report comes from the international affairs think tanks Chatham House. Titled “Changing Climate, Changing Diets: Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption,” it is argued that by eating less meat not only will the planet be benefited, humans will become healthier, too.
As was recently shared, the World Health Organization found processed meats to be cancer-causing and red meat to ‘likely’ cause cancer. Omitting these foods would be best for everyone’s health and for the environment, says the study.
With international climate talks underway in Paris, the spotlight is more focused on climate change than ever before. Unfortunately, not enough attention is being given to the agricultural industry which is responsible for 15% of global greenhouse emissions. Cutting down forests for farmland, transporting feed and meat products, and the gas released from the stomachs of farm animals, particularly cattle, sheep, and goats, all takes a toll on the environment.
Regardless, the aim of the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP21) is to find a way of limiting global warming to a dangerous rise about 2C.
According to the report, all countries on Earth must adhere to consuming less meat to keep the Earth’s temperatures at 2C.
“The overall message is clear: globally we should eat less meat. Global per capita meat consumption is already above healthy levels, critically so in developed countries. We cannot avoid dangerous climate change unless consumption trends change.”
In 2010, the United Nations released a report declaring similar. Has much changed, though? Unfortunately, not really. Some countries are choosing to consume less meat, such as Sweden, but worldwide, demand for meat is still growing and consumption is expected to grow by 76% by 2050.
Co-author Laura Wellesley, who hopes the government will step in and promote a veggie-rich diet, had this to say about the findings:
“Reducing meat consumption is a real win-win for health and for the climate. Raising awareness about the health and environmental impacts of meat is an important first step, but on its own it will not lead to significant behaviour change. Governments must do more to influence diets. As governments look for strategies to close the Paris emissions gap quickly and cheaply, dietary change should be high on the list.”
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines did begin recommending more plant-based foods earlier this year, but not to the extent needed.
Thankfully, opting for plant-based fare will become easier and easier as delicious faux options continue to be developed. Have you heard of the ‘Impossible Burger’? It’s vegan but has been developed to actually ‘bleed’. Take a look here.
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