“I feel fantastic”
It’s summertime, which means one thing and one thing only: It’s barbecue season and the meat is sizzling. But a few unexpected celebrities have teamed up to let you know that no matter how delicious a thick, juicy, sauce-smothered, flame-grilled burger sounds, it comes at a cost you might not expect.
“The second biggest sector for production of greenhouse gases is animal agriculture,” famed Titanic director James Cameron says in a new PSA with WildAid.
The PSA, filmed in support of China’s new initiative to get its citizens eating less meat, also stars former California Governor (and forever Terminator) Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I feel fantastic,” Arnold adds in the PSA of his new greens-heavy diet. And he may not be alone for long.
Nearly a month ago, the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission released its new dietary guidelines, suggesting its 1.3 billion citizens drastically reduce their intake of meat and dairy.
The guidelines come after the country saw an “explosion” of childhood obesity in rural areas. In April, Joep Perk, cardiovascular prevention spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology, said in a statement, “This is extremely worrying. It is the worst explosion of childhood and adolescent obesity that I have ever seen… China is set for an escalation of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and the popularity of the western lifestyle will cost lives."
The new guidelines are asking citizens to cut consumption to 200 grams of meat per day. As QZ reports, the average Chinese citizen currently consumes 254 grams of meat and 142 grams of dairy a day.
As Schwarzenegger points out in an interview with Vanity Fair, “They’re picking up all our bad habits and applying them to a middle-class that’s bigger than the entire population of America.”
But beyond meat’s impact on human wellness, livestock farming is also doing a number on the health of our planet.
As WildAid reports, meat production and the housing of livestock accounts for about 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
So does this mean you need to ditch your hamburger, with cheese, forever? No, certainly not, but perhaps think about grabbing a veggie burger or a salad every now and then instead.
As Li Junfeng, director general of China’s National Center on Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, tells The Guardian, it truly does take all of us to make a difference.
“Tackling climate change involves scientific judgement, political decisions, entrepreneurial support, but at last, it still relies on involvement of the general public to change the consumption behavior in China,” Junfeng says. “Every single one of us has to believe in the low-carbon concept and slowly adapt to it.”