Former Irish President Mary Robinson suggests people become vegetarian to reduce carbon footprint

Published by Laurie Manetta on

September 30th, 2016

The former President of Ireland Mary Robinson has called on developed nations to cut their consumption levels.

“Eat less meat, or no meat at all, become vegetarian or vegan.”

Her comments came during negotiations ahead of the Paris Agreement on global warming. This step, she said, would help alter the course of climate change.

“We need each of us to think about our carbon footprint.”

Speaking to 1,300 young leaders from 190 countries at the One Young World Summit in Ottawa, Canada, the former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights called for change in the culture of meat consumption in the developed world.

“Let’s commit to the Paris Agreement. Let’s commit to leave no one behind.”

Respected worldwide for her advocacy on behalf of marginalized communities, she strongly highlighted the necessity of change in the food industry for the sake of “climate justice”.

“We don’t need to consume as much as we have in the world,” she said. “We have a world where there’s inequity and inequality. We can be simpler in the parts of the world that have benefited from fossil fuel.”

“We have to change, we cannot go on with business as usual.”

Her comments echo those previously made by the UN, which has recently called for reduced consumption of animal products in order to minimise our carbon footprint.

Currently large amounts of land, fossil fuels and water are required in order to rear enough animals to meet consumers demand. In addition, farmed animals produce pollution and greenhouse gasses of their own – around a quarter of all methane escaping into the atmosphere is attributed to domestic agricultural animals, particularly cattle.

The destruction of established forestry around the globe to create grazing land can be considered an additional source of environmental stress.

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Laurie Manetta

Laurie is a contributor to the Green News. She is currently undertaking a Master's Degree in Environmental Policy at Sciences PO Grenoble in France.