The connection between climate change and what we eat may not be a comfortable subject to talk about it but it is an imperative one. And it seems as though CBS News has finally made the connection in a recent piece that ties our food choices to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Unsurprisingly, the foods labeled the most harmful include beef, lamb, butter, shellfish, cheese, pork, veal, chicken, and turkey (and interestingly, asparagus) were ranked top on the list.
This might come as a shock to some, but the truth is industrial animal agriculture is at the heart of our global environmental crisis. Factory farm meat and dairy products account for 23 percent of global freshwater consumption and 45 percent of the total land use. Industrial animal agriculture is also one of the largest drivers of global deforestation, as more space is needed to graze cattle and grow feed for livestock. If rates of deforestation continue, there likely won’t be any rainforests left in the next 100 years. Even with all the resources that this industry uses, nearly one billion people still go hungry. Despite all of the apparent research, many consumers are completely unaware of the impact the burgers and steaks they buy every day have on the planet.
As CBS News notes, new data from 27 researchers from around the world estimate that without changes, crop yields will continue to decline for wheat, rice, maize (corn), and soybean due to climate change. “The changing climate isn’t just altering food production – what we eat is also changing the climate, one of the myriad feedback loops between people and the planet,” the article goes on to note. Effectively, the food we eat is endangering our future ability to produce food due to changing climate conditions.
With the looming question of how we are going to feed a growing population that is set to reach nine billion by 2050, plant-based foods offer a viable solution. CBS News highlights Impossible Foods, the makers of the vegan Impossible Burger, a plant-based “beef” patty that cooks, smells, tastes, and even “bleeds” like real meat. “Meatless meats have emerged as an alternative addition to the global food portfolio,” Adam Samuelson, a Goldman Sachs analyst wrote.
When it comes to talking about ways to combat climate change, few organizations point toward reducing meat and dairy consumption. Here at One Green Planet, we’ve been adamant on the point that global food system dominated by industrial animal agriculture is at the heart of our environmental crisis.
The good news is that you can make a difference, simply by starting with what’s on your plate. You can start eating for the planet by doing nothing more than choosing a delicious plant-based meal over one laden with animal products. If you look at it from a personal perspective, you can cut your own carbon footprint in half just by leaving meat off your plate for one year. (Plus save a lot of water, redirect grain for people to eat, and help protect endangered species…)
As One Green Planet’s co-founder Nil Zacharias says, “It’s time we learned to nourish ourselves without starving the planet.”
We all have the power to create a better future for our children, and the countless animals we share the planet with, by making one easy swap. If you’re ready to start doing this in your own life, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.
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