Climate Action Team
Less Heat, Less Meat
An Easy Climate Action That’s Good for Us
Help cool our planet and increase biodiversity through food choices with a wonderful side effect on personal health.
January 19, 2020
“Restoring natural vegetation, such as forest, is currently the best option at scale for removing CO2 from the atmosphere, and must begin immediately to be effective within the required timescale of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The livestock sector, having largely displaced natural carbon sinks, continues to occupy much of the land that must be restored.” (1)
“The scientific world is very aware of the intersection between food choices and their effects on both climate and human health. Michael Clark at the University of Oxford said: “Continuing to eat the way we do threatens societies, through chronic ill health and degradation of Earth’s climate, ecosystems and water resources.”
In this presentation, we will look at the way different food choices impact our planet negatively and why the same food choices also contribute to chronic illnesses that threaten societies through the high burden of personal suffering and staggering health care costs.
Although different groups give vastly different estimates of the effect of food choices on climate crisis, the very conservative number in the FAO report, Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock(2), comes to 14.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions. This roughly equals the number for all transportation contributions. Other estimates include future land usage changes that will provide additional carbon sinks and increase the positive effect drastically.
The 2015-2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines stated: “About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity.” While official publications(3) use the ‘reduce saturated fat’ as code for reducing animal products, many medical doctors and scientists send a clear message that choosing health-promoting vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains, while omitting animal products, leads to good health outcomes.(4, 5)
Our choices can open the door to a win-win outcome.
Dr. Karoline Müller, Speaker
Scientists call for renewed Paris pledges to transform agriculture, The Lancet Planetary Health, Dec 11, 2019. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(19)30245-1/fulltext
Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock, FAO, 2013. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3437e.pdf
Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. 2nd edition. Chapter 44. Prevention of Chronic Disease by Means of Diet and Lifestyle Changes, Walter C. Willett, et al., 2006.
Proteinaholic, How Our Obsession with Meat Is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It, Garth Davis, Howard Jacobson, 2015.
How Not To Die, Michael Greger, 2015