News report

Climate Action Starts on Your Plate – Plant-Based Alternatives

by GIZ/EUKI, Julia Weibel

The climate crisis has prompted us, especially in industrialised nations, to rethink our consumption and eating habits. Animal rights and climate change activists consequently demand: “Diet Change, not Climate Change”. Thanks to a surprisingly large selection of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives in Western supermarkets today, change is now easier than ever. Two EUKI projects raise awareness among young people and adults on this topic.

According to official United Nations (UN) figures, the industrial food production is responsible for around one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Due to a growing world population, a 40% share by 2050 is likely to happen. To mitigate the impact of our diet on the climate, the UN sees “great opportunities” in the consumption of more healthy, sustainable and thus less resource-intensive foods[1].

The production of one kilogram of beef requires around 15,000 liters of water, while the same amount of pork requires a good 6000 liters. Lentils also need up to 6000 liters, while soybeans need only a little more than 2000[2] . Legumes, which often serve as the basis for plant-based meat alternatives, not only conserve water resources they actually benefit the environment, too. They can be grown in different climatic zones, and also serve as an ecological fertilizer, as they mobilize nutrients in the soil and, in synergy with other plants, promote sustainable cultivation without additional fertilizers[3]. In addition, compared to meat products, the same amounts of pulses can feed more people worldwide in a cost-effective and healthy way[4]. A win-win situation for humans and nature.