The livestock industry and climate change are closely related, since the meat production cycle is highly polluting, with this sector being responsible for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The most harmful 65% of such emissions comes from the vaccine species, due to the methane gas present in its manure.
In addition to this, the cultivation of pastures for livestock feed meant the deforestation of an area similar to that of India in the last 25 years. This means a significant loss of biodiversity and the normal functioning of ecosystems.
But meat consumption is not only an environmental problem because of its pollution levels, but also because of its water requirement. And according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to produce a kilo of beef you need more than 15,000 liters of water; for lamb meat more than 8,700 liters, and for pork are another 6,000 liters.
The United Nations (UN) has stated that one of the most effective actions to reduce climate change is to reduce meat consumption.
“If we are to achieve a balance between the economic, food and environmental needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote a much more conscious diet,” says Kerstin Reichmann, head of Food Change at vegetarians Today Foundation and coordinator of VeggieChallenge.org, a free program for those who wish to make a change of diet.
In the recent public opinion report “Study on Food and Plant-Based Products” carried out by the international consultancy Ipsos in conjunction with the foundation, it was detailed that 82% of respondents have lowered their consumption of red meat, 74% pork and 31% chicken/turkey meats.
This decrease occurs for various reasons, such as seeking to improve one’s own health with 35%, compassion for animals or their welfare with 19%, or interest in reducing the environmental impact with 11% according to the same study.
Regarding the latter, Reichmann adds that “during the last years we have experienced an important change in society; today we are much more open to questioning our consumption habits, and the way we eat has undergone one of the biggest modifications, due to a greater concern for health, the environment or animals.”
This is why the Veggie Challenge program offers a complete and free advice for people interested in trying a plant-based diet (vegan or vegetarian) for a month, estimating that the impact of doing this challenge for 30 days is equivalent to saving 100,000 liters of water, stopping deforestation in 720m2 of soil and saving the lives of at least 15 animals.
Registrations to participate in the challenge are made through the portal VeggieChallenge.org and has support groups on Facebook with mentors who will accompany the participants during this journey, giving support and solving all the doubts that may arise to the participants.
“We are convinced that making a change of diet is much easier when we receive help and complete advice … The goal is not only to inform people and help them make the change, but also to make each participant feel accompanied during the process, making this challenge their greatest virtue the support of an entire community, “concludes the coordinator.