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  • The average person eats about 40 kilograms of meat per year.

  • In developed countries, it's double that.

  • Or about the same weight as an adult dolphin.

  • But experts now advise cutting down the amount of meat we eat, to help reduce climate change.

  • So, here's a thought experiment.

  • [What if the whole world turned vegan?]

  • Around 15 percent of all greenhouse gasses emitted by humans are from livestock production.

  • If we all became vegan, these emissions would be slashed.

  • Eating meat takes up space, a lot of it.

  • Around 80 percent of all farmland is dedicated to meat and dairy production.

  • That's about the size of Europe, the U.S., China, and Australia combined.

  • Meat and dairy typically provide 18 percent of our calories, but account for 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

  • A report by the UN's climate body, the IPCC, recommends we all reduce the amount of meat we eat.

  • And also how much we waste.

  • The report found 8 to 10 percent of all global emissions are down to food loss and food waste.

  • But not all meat is the same.

  • Large-scale farming of beef has a particularly high impact, and has been a big factor in the loss of the Amazon rainforest.

  • When cows digest their food, they produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that's about 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over 100 years.

  • And when cows burp, this methane is emitted.

  • One cow releases between 70 and 100 kilograms of methane every year, and there are around 1.5 billion cattle in the world today.

  • But it's not that simple.

  • A lot depends on how the meat is produced.

  • Most meat is mass-produced by large-scale industry, and this can come with a heavy environmental impact.

  • But small-scale farming of animals can have a lower environmental footprint.

  • And sometimes, for example in the case of traditional grazing, it can be beneficial in terms of biodiversity.

  • Vegan alternatives can also come with their own problems.

  • For example, large-scale production of soya can lead to deforestation, and almond production requires huge amounts of water.

  • But if everyone switched to a plant-based diet, it could bring several positive health benefits.

  • One study estimated that if everyone ate a vegan diet, with lots of fresh fruit and veg, around eight million deaths could be avoided around the world by 2050.

  • There are no simple answers.

  • But if everyone were to change how they look at food, cultivate it, and eat it in a sustainable way, we could, potentially, change the world.

  • Thanks for watching.

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The average person eats about 40 kilograms of meat per year.

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B2 AU meat vegan percent methane greenhouse production

What if everyone in the world went vegan? | BBC Ideas

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    Seraya posted on 2020/04/17
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