People Must Eat More Plant-Based To Save Planet, Warns UN

The organization says taxing meat would help shift people's habits and make them move away from eating so much meat - which is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
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Bowl of tofu and rice

Plant-based food is more environmentally-friendly (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

A large-scale shift towards a plant-based diet is essential if we are to protect the environment, the United Nations has warned in its new Global Environment Outlook (GEO) report.

The GEO report, which is published every five-seven years, was collated by 250 scientists and experts from more than 70 countries. It considers the environmental issues threatening the planet. These include climate change, wildlife loss, and plastic pollution among other issues.

According to the UN taxing meat could help people change their diets - essential as livestock farming, which uses 77 percent of global agricultural land, is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of wildlife habitat. In addition, the report states that global food production must increase by 50 percent by 2050 to feed the world.

Humanity and the environment

"Reducing overall meat consumption as well as providing alternatives to conventional livestock production (eg through plant-based meat alternatives) would substantially reduce the agricultural land-use footprint," said the report.

"The science is clear. The health and prosperity of humanity is directly tied with the state of our environment," added Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment.

"This report is an outlook for humanity. We are at a crossroads. Do we continue on our current path, which will lead to a bleak future for humankind, or do we pivot to a more sustainable development pathway? That is the choice our political leaders must make, now."