• Question: Will reducing meat in your diet really help climate change

    Asked by beans21 to Sudhin, Katie on 21 Nov 2019.
    • Photo: Katie Fala

      Katie Fala answered on 21 Nov 2019:

      Great question. I think that while not conclusive, the evidence all points to reduction in meat consumption in developed countries being a good thing for the planet as well as our bodies. Overall people in developed countries consume far more meat than is healthy for us (2 servings per week is recommended) and replacing some meat with alternatives, especially plant-based, would help reduce emissions as well as improve our diet overall.

      It’s a very complex issue though, and to be honest there can be lots of debate about what we should be eating, especially with all the confounding factors too. Take air miles for example; I love avocados, delicious and full of healthy fats and micronutrients. However they are generally grown in places in Central/South America or Israel. So while they are plant-based and might not emit so much carbon while they are being grown, probably a lot is emitted by the ships/planes that are used to transport them from where they are grown to here. There is also debate over how fair and ethical it is to be importing water and nutrient rich fruits and vegetables away from producing countries, which may have issues with water supply and soil nutrient levels, to more economically-developed countries. Also, reducing meat is a choice that people in developed countries can make, but I don’t think we should force this on people living in poverty through no fault of their own who could well be depending on meat/dairy to survive. Lots of research focuses on how we will be able to feed our growing population fairly, as the population grows, with the added challenges of climate change, combined with limited amounts of land, water and genetic diversity in the plants, animals and microbes that make up our food production systems.