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A massive four out of five Brits are unaware that farming cows and sheep results in climate change, according to research published by a leading vegan charity.
A survey of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by The Vegan Society, showed that even fewer people knew that livestock production results in extinction of other species (eight per cent) and causes destruction of the rainforest (12 per cent).
One in five respondents (19 per cent) said they would consider becoming vegan – as the UK’s current vegan population is around one per cent, this could have a substantial impact as the global meat and dairy industry is responsible for as much greenhouse gases as the transport sector combined.
The Vegan Society is launching its environmental campaign Plate Up for the Planet to urge people to ‘eat to save the world’.
Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns and Policy at The Vegan Society, said: “We’re always told to change our light bulbs, cycle to work or take shorter showers but the huge carbon footprint of animal agriculture is largely ignored when it comes to fighting climate change.
“The Vegan Society wants to address this pressing issue with our Plate Up for the Planet campaign which encourages people to think differently about what they eat and how it impacts our planet.
“Going vegan is one of the most significant things an individual can do to help combat climate change and protect our natural world – why not give it a try?”
The survey showed that the vast majority of Brits try to do something environmentally-friendly weekly – with a 95 per cent of respondents stating they do so.
Environmentally-friendly habits include recycling (78 per cent), turning the lights off when they are not using them (65 per cent) and taking re-usable bags to the supermarket (58 per cent).
A further 41 per cent make an effort to walk or cycle inside of driving, 49 per cent use eco bulbs, 54 per cent turn off the taps when brushing teeth and 51 per cent only boil as much water as they need.
But despite our good, green intentions, we’re less conscious of what we put into our mouths with eating less meat (15 per cent ) and eating less dairy (8 per cent) ranking as some of the things we’re least likely to do.
Leading authorities on climate change, including the United Nations’s FAO and Chatham House, have warned it is unlikely that global temperature rises can be kept below two degrees Celsius in the absence of a radical shift in meat and dairy consumption.
The Vegan Society is urging the public to eat efficiently as for every 100 calories fed to animals, we receive back only 12 calories by consuming their meat and milk.
To try the seven day vegan challenge as part of #PlateUpforthePlanet, sign up for free with your email address at www.vegansociety.com/plateup.
Celebrities who have taken the challenge or are supporting the campaign include Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, co-founder of the Eden Project Sir Tim Smit and Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch.