The world faces an existential crisis - irreversible climate change driven by human activities. With a narrow window of just 7-8 years to enact significant change, humanity must urgently seek innovative solutions. In this systematic literature review spanning from 2002 to 2022, we explore proposed strategies to combat climate change and present a unified framework for addressing this global emergency.
The Overlooked Solution: Shifting to Plant-Based Diets
While solutions like transitioning to renewable energy, reducing energy consumption, and transforming transportation systems have received significant attention, one crucial aspect has been often overlooked - the gradual shift to plant-based diets and the global phaseout of industrialized animal farming. This shift involves replacing animal-based products with plant-based alternatives, ending government subsidies for animal-based products, and implementing taxes on them.
The impacts of this shift extend beyond climate change mitigation. It addresses environmental degradation, human and animal health risks, and the threat of pandemics linked to factory farming. By focusing on this neglected aspect, we can potentially offset up to 68% of GHG emissions and significantly reduce the warming potential of the atmosphere.
Three Strategic Approaches for Change
Shift to Plant-Based Diets and Phaseout of Industrialized Animal Farming: Encourage the replacement of animal products with plant-based and lab-grown alternatives. Investments in technology and agriculture are essential, along with ending subsidies for animal-based products and introducing taxes to account for externalized costs.
Adopt an "All Life" Approach: Embrace the interconnectedness of all life on Earth. Shift from a human-centric mindset to an Earth-centric paradigm that emphasizes the protection of all life forms. Achieve this through education and awareness campaigns.
Global Standardization of ESG Measures: Establish global standardization of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics and create an independent regulatory body for their verification. This measure ensures transparency, trustworthiness, and effectiveness in corporate and governmental actions and helps guide investors.
To avert a climate catastrophe, we must act swiftly. Our proposed three-pronged approach - shifting to plant-based diets, adopting an "All Life" perspective, and implementing global ESG standardization - offers a comprehensive solution to the climate change crisis. These strategies, combined with other time-sensitive solutions, provide hope for a sustainable future for our planet and all its inhabitants. Recognizing that addressing climate change is intertwined with broader sustainability goals, we have the power to effect lasting change and secure the well-being of current and future generations.