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One way to tackle climate change? Through the stomach

We saw a new flood of warnings last week that, before it’s too late, we need to take major action to lessen the impact of climate change.

One way to tackle climate change? Through the stomach
Dr George Jacobs, President, Vegetarian Society (Singapore)

We saw a new flood of warnings last week that, before it’s too late, we need to take major action to lessen the impact of climate change.

Fortunately, some actions against climate change provide multiple benefits. For instance, by walking more, we not only cut greenhouse gas emissions, we also boost our physical health.

 Similarly with diet, animal-based foods – meat, fish, seafood, dairy, and eggs – contribute mightily to climate change, even more than fossil-fueled transportation. At the same time, these foods also contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Animal-based foods worsen climate change because:

  1. The animals themselves, including the hens who lay eggs, produce waste that contains greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide;

  2. We need to feed many kilogrammes of plant food to the animals to produce just one kg of animal-based food.

Thus, eating food from animals is an inefficient way to eat.

Fortunately, in Singapore, we enjoy an increasingly large and varied assortment of alternatives to food from animals. Nowadays, most restaurants already have plant-based dishes on their menu or can prepare them if requested.

When eating out, apps such as Happy Cow and abillionveg help us locate eateries offering plant-based dishes.

Additionally, our libraries and bookshops are replete with cookbooks that guide us in moving away from animal-based foods. The Internet provides millions more plant-powered recipes.

We need not go 100 per cent plant-based in order to do our share to slow climate change. Some people are reducetarians who still regularly eat animal-based food, but less of it. Other people are flexitarians, who normally eat plant-based food but sometimes make exceptions.

Each of us can lead the way for our family, friends, and colleagues. By moving toward a plant-based diet, we can champion climate concern and good health, while at the same time enjoying tasty food.

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