Plant-Rich Diets

Plant-Rich Diets: A Climate Solution We Need To Be Talking About

When we think about climate change, we think about solar panels and wind turbines; we don’t think about the food that we eat. But eating meat at every meal is like driving a gas-guzzling car every time you drive. Our food system generates over 30% of total global emissions, and is also a significant contributor to biodiversity loss, deforestation, fresh water use, and land use. Meat and dairy have much higher emissions and use more land than plant-based foods. Food systems transformation is required to meet the Paris Climate targets, and adopting plant-rich diets is the most powerful lever for reducing food systems emissions.

Although a person’s diet is an individual decision, there are many systemic factors that impact those decisions. For example, food cost and food availability are heavily influenced by industry lobbying. Between 2000 and 2019, U.S. meat and dairy companies spent more than $26 million on political campaigns. Compared to the oil industry, Tyson spent more on political campaigns and lobbying than Exxon Mobil per share of revenue. Reducing meat demand reduces the market forces that drive deforestation, agricultural expansion, and the loss of land tenure by women and Indigenous people all over the world. We need ambitious campaigns in every aspect of our food system that make adopting low-emission, plant-rich diets affordable and accessible for everyone.

How do plant-rich diets affect racial justice, health, and climate?