MANILA -- For many years now, Planet Earth has been experiencing drastic changes in climate patterns. Extreme weather conditions have brought about disasters from mega-typhoons to widespread drought, which are only getting worse as years pass.
Experts have been blaming industrialization -- from smoke-belching factories and cars to greedy mining companies -- as the major cause of climate change. While this is true, many have seemed to overlook one of the most basic yet destructive causes of climate change -- the food that we eat.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the livestock sector accounts for 14.5% of the global total emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). This is higher than the emissions produced from powering all the world's road vehicles, trains, ships and airplanes combined.
Think about it. Burning fuel to generate fertilizer to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their belch and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another gas, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.
I's safe to say that livestock production is the largest global source of methane and nitrous oxide -- two particularly potent GHGs. Studies show that rising demand for livestock products translates into rising emissions of these two GHGs.
This is the main reason why individuals are encouraged to have a "less but better" approach to consumption of meat and dairy products. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce personal carbon footprint and also the negative impact people bring to the environment.
Lessening your consumption of meat can give major health benefits like lower blood pressure and reduced risk of diabetes, among other non-communicable diseases. Moreover, some studies show that people who cut their consumption of meat may feel happier, lighter, and more glowing.
On June 13, join the celebration of World Meat Free Day, a global campaign that aims to raise awareness of the benefits of eating less meat for a healthier, balanced diet that's better for our planet and fairer to our food systems. This is one simple step that will create a big impact to the world.
Your one-day of sacrifice will go a long way to help the environment -- and yourself, too. One meat-free meal reduces enough carbon emissions to boil a kettle 388 times and saves water equivalent to the daily usage of nine people. Apart from that, a meat-free meal also spares your body from 11g of fat -- which is equivalent to 2 tablespoons of butter.
Encourage your friends and family to join this important event, visit www.worldmeatfreeday.com to sign up. You may also find them on Twitter (@Meat_Free_Day) and participate in the conversation with the hashtags #WorldMeatFreeDay and #WMFD.
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