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Shifting to a plant-based diet to significantly help fight climate change: GODAN

Andre Laperrière, executive director of Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), has highlighted the impact of Western appetite on global warming and the importance to switching to a plant-based diet to help fight climate change

“The recently released report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave prominence to the Western appetite of high meat and dairy consumption as a major fuel for global warming and climate change. As the most authoritative report detailing how human activity is bringing detriment to the Earth’s natural resources, the call to action to cut down on meat consumption should not be taken lightly.”

“While some countries depend on meat consumption as their only source of nutrition, the report clearly highlights that Western countries are excessively over-indulging, resulting in significant land degradation, the rise in levels of greenhouse gas emissions and desertification. This is directly impacting climate change as farming currently already accounts for half of the human-induced methane emissions released into the earth’s atmosphere,” Laperrière explained.

According to Laperrière, there is a direct correlation between the high levels of meat production and greenhouse emissions. A quarter of global emissions come from food and more than half of these emissions from the food industry comes from animal products – with beef and lamb alone accounting for 50 per cent of these emissions. Therefore, shifting to a plant-based diet would be a significant catalyst for combating climate change.

“Governmental policies need to be put in place to ensure farming practices are safeguarding and restoring land, encouraging agroforestry and improving crop variants. Not only will better land management improve the sustainability of farming practices, but it will also provide benefits to local communities such as improving food security and combating poverty, which are important to achieve a country's overall economic growth,” Laperrière concluded.