It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, but as even Arnold Schwarzenegger has found, a “part-time” meat-free diet could go a long way to addressing environmental problems, writes Tara Watson.
What many environmentalists have been saying for decades might finally be starting to sink in – after the Terminator said it.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has spoken at the Paris UN Climate Conference, encouraging more people to become vegetarians because of the environmental problems associated with meat-eating. Schwarzenegger says, however, that becoming a full vegetarian is too demanding and suggests people do it part-time instead. He told BBC News:
My friend recommends stop eating meat. I think that’s a good idea but people won’t buy in. People will buy in to stop eating meat one or two days a week – you have to start slowly. It’s a very big challenge but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.
It is idealistic to imagine a world where more than small minorities of people are vegetarians, rather than meat-eaters, and finding a method to tackle the over-production and over-consumption of meat is no easy task.
Becoming either a part-time, 2-3 day per week, or a weekday vegetarian might be the answer.
The world has doubled its per capita meat consumption since 1961, and it is expected to double again by 2050.
Australia is the world’s biggest meat eater, consuming 90.21kg of meat per person in 2014, surpassing barbeque nation the United States, which eats 170 grams less per person than Australia, according to the latest figures from the OECD and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Watch Arnie talk about climate change below. Post continues after video.
Reducing meat intake is a crucial step to lessen the effects of climate change. The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined, with one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions attributed to livestock alone.
By comparison to staples like potatoes, wheat and rice, beef requires 160 times more land and produces 11 times more greenhouse gases.
A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that a global dietary change can “substantially lower” greenhouse gas emissions.
A weekday vegetarian diet would curb meat consumption by 70 per cent.