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Lone polar bear on floating ice | Image Credit: SeppFriedhuber

Who could fail to be captivated by the brilliance of Sir David Attenborough’s latest series, Seven Worlds: One Planet?  The title itself sums up beautifully the interconnectedness of life on Earth. How we all depend on each other. How the living world around us is the very life support system for humanity. 

What I think particularly important about Sir David’s latest series is how it shows the all-encompassing impact of global warming.

One of the big contributors to global warming, of course, is our global hunger for meat and dairy.

Despite governments signing up in Paris to limit runaway climate change, precious little has been done to reduce emissions from our food.

Farm animals already contribute 14.5 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the world’s planes, trains and cars put together. Already, 74 billion farm animals are reared for food every year. As things stand, tens of billions more animals will soon be reared and slaughtered each year for meat.

The UN predicts a doubling in demand for meat globally by the middle of the century. 

The UN warns that global warming must be kept within 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century or the consequences will be catastrophic.

Those two predictions are incompatible. Things are going the wrong way to save the planet. To stop mass wildlife extinctions and a collapse of the living world around us.

Meat, milk, eggs put out far more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of protein than plant products such as grains, vegetables and pulses. A recent Chatham House study underscored the point that global temperature rise is unlikely to stay below 2 degrees Celsius without reducing consumption of meat and dairy.

Thousands of beef cattle pictured at an industrialised feedlot in Texas, USA | Image Credit: peeterv

That is why one of the most important things we can all do to help safeguard the future of life on Earth is to eat more plants, less and better meat and dairy. And by better, I mean not from factory farms. Instead, from more humane and environmentally friendly farming systems like pasture-fed, free range or organic.

Scientists tell us we have but a decade to solve climate change or leave a deeply impoverished planet as a legacy for our children.

We can all play a big part in shaping a better future three times a day through the food we choose.

The choice is yours.


You can help by spreading the word and getting involved.  Why not register to receive updates and watch our Planet Earth film here

If you would like to learn more about the link between our food and the collapse of the natural world, please do read Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were

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