Scientists Urge People to Reduce Meat Consumption for Climate

Scientists Urge People to Reduce Meat Consumption for Climate

In the global climate crisis, citizens and policymakers must work together to make smarter long-term choices for the health of our planet. 

In a recently issued “Warning of Climate Emergency” published in BioScience (link: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806), a staggering 11,258 scientists from 153 countries have signed a declaration warning that the global climate crisis has arrived, and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. Scientists cite human and ruminant livestock population increases, fossil fuel consumption, per capita meat production, air travel, and per-capita carbon dioxide emissions as continuing activities that threaten natural ecosystems and “the fate of humanity”.

Their recommendations the for global, systemic changes needed in order to reduce the worst effects of climate change include:

Energy
We need to replace fossil fuels with low-carbon renewables and cleaner energy sources. We should stop fossil fuel extraction, and wealthier countries should help other countries move away from fossil fuel consumption. They recommend fair policies that escalate the price of carbon in order to restrict its use.

Short-lived Pollutants
We need to reduce the emission of short-lived pollutants like methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons. This could slow the negative climate feedback loop and reduce the short-term warming trends. It would also increase crop yields because of lower levels of air pollution.

Nature
We need to protect and restore our natural ecosystems. Every ecosystem, including coral reefs, forests, grasslands, wetlands, peatlands, and savannas, contribute to carbon sequestration and plays a role in global nutrient cycling. We need to not just protect the remaining forests, but increase forestation because forests have the capacity to sequester carbon more quickly than other ecosystems. Simple widespread reforestation could naturally reduce emissions by up to a third.

Food
Scientists recommend not simply reducing meat consumption and animal products, but particularly reducing consumption of animal products from ruminant livestock. Relying mostly on plant-based foods both improves health and reduces emissions. Reducing ruminant livestock populations also frees up huge amounts of agricultural land, some of which can be used to grow human food, and some of which can be devoted to restoration of natural ecosystems. We need to use agricultural practices like minimum tillage that improve carbon sequestration, and reduce the amount of global food waste.

Economy
We need a “carbon-free” economy that specifically addresses our dependence on the biosphere. Governments need to shift focus away from GDP and wealth, and toward goals of improving human well-being and reducing inequality.

Population
Population growth should be slowed and eventually slowed, using policies that improve human rights while lowering fertility rates. Family-planning services should be available to everyone, we should reduce barriers to their access, and achieve gender equality.

This declaration from the Alliance of World Scientists takes a position that is comprehensive, addressing all aspects of human life, everywhere on earth. It also aligns with many existing social movements: toward gender equality, reducing income inequality, shifting policy focus away from wealth and toward well-being, and using global resources, from land and forests to fresh water and fossil fuels, more intelligently. It also aligns with the global vegetarian, vegan, reducetarian, and pescatarian movements. There are already vast numbers of people working toward these goals, privately and collectively, because they promise a better quality of life for everyone, while also healing and protecting our planet.

What is missing now is full government and policy adoption of these goals. Private individuals have heeded the call for decades, dutifully conserving energy, recycling their waste, installing solar panels, reducing their meat consumption, using metal straws… in just recent weeks, YouTuber MrBeast started a tree-planting initiative that has gone viral and raised nearly $15M in private contributions for planting trees (link: https://teamtrees.org/). It’s clear that the people of earth are united and doing everything they can to help save the climate, and it’s governments that are lagging behind.

At BeefyGreen, we are proud to create a high-quality, highly nutritious, delicious food product that is good for the environment. Our products are a simple alternative to meat products, and offer an easy way to reduce meat consumption without sacrificing meaty texture or flavour. For more ways to help the environment, visit and send a message to policy makers.