Forum: Promote plant-based diet to cut Singaporeans' carbon footprint

Locally grown vegetables being stocked up at Jurong East Mall's FairPrice Xtra.
Locally grown vegetables being stocked up at Jurong East Mall's FairPrice Xtra.PHOTO: ST FILE

One of the Singapore Together initiatives by the Government is to get Singaporeans to reduce the use of single-use plastics (SG Together movement: 4G leaders want to partner citizens in more areas, Jan 3).

This is long overdue as Singaporeans use plastics with little regard for the environment.

With the devastating impact of climate change being felt more and more in the region - such as how fires in Australia are raging out of control and how floods hit Jakarta - it is imperative to act now.

One low-hanging fruit to reduce our carbon footprint is to omit meat and dairy products from our diet.

It is undeniable that the meat industry is highly polluting. Emissions from livestock production - especially dairy cattle - represent 14.5 per cent of the globe's human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, a disproportionate amount of water, land and grain goes towards raising herds, and that could be better utilised and preserved.

While we should still work towards a zero-waste society, many efforts to reduce our carbon footprint pale in comparison with adopting a plant-based diet.

With the devastating impact of climate change being felt more and more in the region - such as how fires in Australia are raging out of control and how floods hit Jakarta - it is imperative to act now.

Perhaps the Government could look into nudging Singaporeans' behaviour in this aspect even as we work towards a zero-waste society.

Lee Yong Se

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2020, with the headline 'Promote plant-based diet to cut S'poreans' carbon footprint'. Print Edition | Subscribe