Celebrities are trying to eat by example

Whether it’s out of a sincerely held belief or a profit motive, celebrities endorse products or lifestyle choices all the time. But concern about climate change has moved certain famous folks to appeal to our shared humanity.

Earlier this week, in an attempt to draw attention to the carbon footprint of meat production, a group of celebrities including Paul McCartney and actors Woody Harrelson and Joaquin Phoenix resorted to an elaborate ruse. Co-signing an impassioned letter by a 12-year-old California eco-activist named Genesis Butler, they challenged Pope Francis to go vegan for Lent.
If he agrees, the campaign will offer $1 million US to a charity of the Pope’s choice. And it stands to reason that the Pope’s participation might also inspire Catholics to reconsider their own eating habits.

Whether or not the Pope takes the bait, the Million Dollar Vegan stunt undoubtedly shines more light on the issue of meat production. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, farming livestock accounts for about 18 per cent of global carbon emissions. People are unlikely to stop eating animal proteins. But eating fewer of them, and diversifying into plant-based ones, certainly benefits the planet.  MORE

Why everybody should rid themselves of old habits—and go vegan

Jessica Scott-Reid: Eating animals and the food they produce is no longer necessary—and there are cheaper and healthier options in the Western world

Replacing meat farming with more efficient food production could help ease the strain on the planet. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Where once the decision to not eat meat was perceived as an act of radical rebellion, plant-based eating and cruelty-free shopping has now become a major trend. Vegetarianism and veganism have gone mainstream: plant-based meat alternatives are increasingly available at grocery retailers across North America, and there’s been a boom in subscribers to Meat Free Monday, the Paul McCartney-endorsed initiative to cut meat from meals one day a week.

According to Euromonitor, global sales of meat substitutes have risen an average of 9.3 per cent each year between 2012 and 2017.

A …report in the journal Nature pointed to a number of crucial solutions, which included a call to Western countries to reduce beef and pork consumption by 90 per cent, poultry and milk by 60 per cent, and to replace that with four to six times more beans and pulses. MORE

Related: 10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas