CHANGING the world could start with changing what's on your plate. Recently, in the medical journal Lancet, scientists have called on the world to transform its diet by reducing its sugar and red meat intake, while doubling the amount of vegetables, fruits and nuts consumed.

In a grossly unequal world, where 815 million people are suffering from chronic undernourishment, ''nothing short of an agricultural revolution'' will fight the effects of climate change.

Consumers, particularly from wealthy nations, need to adopt healthy diets, reduce food, invest in technologies that reduce impact on the environment.

This means keeping beef and diary off our plates. While this might be complicated in traditionally meat-eating countries such as Pakistan, it is necessary for the future sustenance of the planet.

Pakistan's per capita intake of meat is understandably much less than those in developed nations, but meat is now believed to have replaced lentils as the main source of protein.

According to the Korean Journal of Food Science of Animal Resources, the per capita meat consumption increased from 11.7kg in 2000 to 32kg in 2016.

By 2020, that figure is expected to rise to 47kg due to higher purchasing power and lifestyle changes that come with increasing urbanisation.

But it is no secret that the meat and dairy industry are some of the highest contributors to global greenhouse emissions.

Agriculture also uses up about 70pc of the global freshwater supply. Additionally, a large amount of forest cover is cut down each year to make room for livestock, leading to the rampant loss of biodiversity and trees that absorb carbon.

According to an extensive study published last year, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75pc - and still manage to feed the world.

There are also issues of unethical farming, and most consumers are unaware of what they are putting into their bodies or the practices on farms and in factories. Really, we could all live on less.

The World Students Society thanks the editorial board of Dawn.


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