Coal. Car emissions. Factories. These are the images people usually conjure when they think about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. But what about food and meat production?
Meat production alone accounts for over 15% of emissions and skyrockets to almost 50% when you consider the secondary impacts on land-use, deforestation, and transportation. As we think about ways to fight climate change, reducing meat and dairy consumption is one way we as individuals can all pitch in.
But asking people to change their eating habits is fraught with risk. Dietary choice – like other consumption choices – is very personal. And while sustainable consumption and eating less meat is becoming a more common topic in the U.S. and Europe, in China they’re only beginning this conversation.
China consumes 30% of the world’s meat supply, more than any other country in the world, and that demand will rise 50% in the next decade. With a population of 1.5 billion, even a small decrease in meat consumption could make a huge difference – not only for personal health (think heart disease) – but for the health of the planet.
WildAid Climate Program Director Jen Leung recently spoke with BBC’s World News about meat consumption in China and how a significant global decrease will save lives and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The WildAid Difference
WildAid’s Shu Shi (“vegetable diet”) campaign empowers people to make healthy, sustainable food choices by reducing their meat intake. These choices are personal and imbued with cultural and social meaning, so we work with Chinese celebrities and trusted local partners to highlight current consumption habits and then arm people with new information to make the choices they want.
It’s a Lunar New Year, so there should be new resolutions, new habits, and new learning. Let’s consider that and ask everyone to think about the meat we eat, and why we need to eat so much of it.
WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages nearly $230 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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