Climate change is affecting every continent, affecting agriculture, human health, ecosystems, water supplies, and even people’s livelihoods. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass by 3 degrees centigrade this century. With the poorest and most vulnerable, people are being affected the most. With that being said, the question now remains; how we can help the environment, and how can we contribute on an individual level.
To answer that is far simpler than you might think, and it’s reducing your meat and dairy consumption, or preferably switching your diet to a vegan or plant based vegan diet. Dairy and meat products take up 83% of global farmland, they provide just 18% of human calories and 37% of global protein, If we stopped eating these foods, farmland would be reduced by 75%, allowing ecosystems around the world to recover from deforestation and other forms of harm, much less land would be required to produce the food needed to assist humanity. Also, according to Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use,”
Now how can we go vegan first, you have to remove the thought that switching to a vegan diet is hard and look at the bright side that by doing so you’re contributing greatly to the sustainable development goals. And generally speaking, a vegan diet is far healthier than any other diet you might think of. However, we suggest that you take it slow at first try meatless Fridays; meatless week and remember once you remove something you add something else to your diet. We recommend reading about other people’s mistakes. Learn from them and slowly replace animal products with plant-based vegan ones.
Here in UNDP Saudi Arabia, we encourage people to be more health aware and environmentally friendly by trying to reduce meat and dairy consumption. At the Country Office we have been catering vegan meals in our cafeteria. We encourage other workplaces to do so as well. Give staff and guests a choice and they just might change their eating habits!