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Down to Earth

Should we all go vegan to save the planet?

Being vegan was once a fringe movement, but today it's going mainstream. Even the land of beef bourguignon has joined the game. In 2016 the sale of vegan products jumped by 82% in France. Vegan restaurants, grocery stores and even dairy-free cheese are finding new fans.

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But beyond being fashionable, a vegan or vegetarian diet is also a response to an urgent environmental crisis. Livestock is responsible for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, compared to only 2 or 3% for aviation.

So to save the planet, should we all go vegan? A group of 37 scientists from around the world studied this question for two years and came up with what's known as the planetary health diet. Their conclusion: to preserve the environment we don’t have to ban meat and dairy entirely. The Down to Earth team looks at why the planet wouldn't necessarily be better off if we all became vegan.

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