Mimi Bekhechi, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) only issues its report every five years, and the latest one has just landed. The results are devastating, but not surprising for anyone who has turned on the news and seen the unprecedented bushfires, heatwaves, droughts, floods, coral bleaching and storms ravaging our planet, which will all continue to intensify in the near term.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations agreed to hold global warming to well below two, and preferably under 1.5 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels. The IPCC now says Earth is likely to get close to, or reach, 1.5 degrees in the next decade. We are on track for three degrees of warming that will create catastrophic effects across the planet – more severe weather events, a global refugee crisis, and disastrous impacts on the world economy.
There is little time left to avoid 1.5 degrees of planetary warming. Every fraction of a degree is critical. While governments are slowly and often unwillingly starting to tackle energy policy, UN climate change reports have consistently called for us to do something easy and effective: eat less meat. The IPCC describes plant-based diets as a major opportunity for mitigating and adapting to climate change through reduced methane production and reversing land clearing for grazing or fodder.
Going vegan is the best way each of us can help avoid the looming environmental catastrophe. Additionally, it will improve our health and save billions of animals from wretched lives and agonising deaths.