More than 11,000 scientists worldwide have declared a climate emergency and outlined six areas of action humanity needs to address. One of these includes eating “mostly plants” and consuming “fewer animal products.”
In a paper published in the journal BioScience, thousands of scientists from 153 countries detail the findings of an analysis of over 40 years of public data on deforestation, carbon emissions, and more relating to Earth’s changing climate.
“From the data we have, it is clear we are facing a climate emergency,” stated Dr. Thomas Newsome of the University of Sydney. “Scientists have a moral obligation to warn humanity of any great threat.”
The six necessary areas of action are nature, economy, population, energy, short-lived pollutants, and food. In discussing food, the paper states:
Eating mostly plant-based foods while reducing the global consumption of animal products, especially ruminant livestock, can improve human health and significantly lower GHG emissions. Moreover, this will free up croplands for growing much-needed human plant food instead of livestock feed, while releasing some grazing land to support natural climate solutions.
These results are not surprising. Just recently, uncontrolled fires in the Amazon were so bad that the state of Amazonas declared a state of emergency. Environmental organizations and researchers said that the Amazon fires were intentionally set by cattle ranchers and loggers. Cameron Ellis, senior geographer at the Rainforest Foundation, told VICE that ranchers burn down forests to clear land for their cattle. But the fires often get out of hand and “escape into surrounding forest, much of which is suffering from drought.”
Global demand for meat spurred the devastation in the Amazon. According to Reuters, in 2018 Brazil exported 1.6 million metric tons of beef, the highest volume in history. Abiec, a Brazilian meatpackers association, expects the number to reach 1.8 million metric tons by the end of this year.