The goal of the UN Climate Conference (COP21) in Paris is to address the most pressing issues facing our planet’s environment and work to make global policy-level change to mitigate the worst possible impacts of climate change. While there are many topics at the table ranging from fossil fuel emissions to handling droughts and food shortages … there is one thing that isn’t being talked about that MIGHT just be the singular thing that can save us from the brink of total destruction.

The role our food choices play in climate change.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization accredits 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions to the animal agriculture industry. That’s more than the entire transportation sector. But that’s not where it ends.

This destructive industry currently occupies over half of the world’s arable land resources and uses the majority of our freshwater store. Additionally, this system causes rampant air and water pollution, land degradation, deforestation and is pushing countless species to the brink of extinction. And yet, one in eight people still suffer from food scarcity.

As Nil Zacharias, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet says, “The real war against climate change is being fought on our plates, multiple times a day with every food choice we make.”

So while this topic might not be the center of discussion at COP21, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t something that we all can’t take action against. In fact, you can start making a difference with your next meal! By simply leaving meat off your plate, you can HALVE your carbon footprint – if everyone in the world made an effort to even eat less meat and dairy, it would make an enormous difference.

“Years from now, when we tell the inspiring story of how our broken food system was transformed into a more equitable and sustainable one, will you be on the right or wrong side of history?” asks Zacharias; a question that is more important than ever for the world’s leaders to consider, and yet, many have yet to recognize.

Are you tired of waiting for legislation and ready to make a change to save the future right now? Join One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet movement, here and find out how our food choices have the power to heal our broken food system, give species a fighting chance for survival, and pave the way for a truly sustainable future.

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Lead image source: Zucchini Mushroom Veggie Burgers