You don't have to be vegetarian to save the planet

Topic Selected: Dietary Choices

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By Duncan Williamson

Food is an emotive issue. Everyone has an opinion on it, and people don’t like being told that their food choices might be harming their health or the planet. Calls to change our diets have been met with howls of derision, with people misinterpreting recommendations for changes to mean that everyone should switch to a dull, grey, tasteless diet, and with polarised arguments about meat-eating versus vegetarianism.

The simple fact is that something is wrong with our global food system. One in ten of the world’s population is obese, a whopping half a billion people, and hundreds of millions more are overweight. At the same time a billion people are hungry and, according to the UK Government’s Foresight report, another billion are suffering from hidden hunger.

The food system also has a substantial impact on climate change. It is a driving force behind habitat and biodiversity loss and a huge drain on water resources, both

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