We could probably all stand to eat a little healthier, move a little more, and begin practicing more active and mindful lifestyles. One way to do this, of course, would be by cutting back on dairy and meat in our diets.
According to research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, a surcharge of 40% on beef and 20% on milk would actually lead to massive cuts in carbon emissions, and save thousands of lives -- which of course would help account for the damage that just producing the food causes our earth.
Marco Springmann, who helped to lead the study, told the Guardian: "It is clear that if we don't do something about the emissions from our food system, we have no chance of limiting climate change below 2C.
"But if you'd have to pay 40% more for your steak, you might choose to have it once a week instead of twice."
Because of deforestation and methane emissions, beef actually has an extremely heavy footprint, which means that a 40% tax on average across the board would basically compensate for the climate damage it takes to feed cattle and then turn them into groceries.
Additionally, food production alone is the cause for up to a quarter of all of the greenhouse gas emissions that are currently leading the global warming charge. And the more rich people get, the more they choose to indulge in meat.
Scientists from the study determined that optimally, if we could find a way to combine the taxes with subsidies for whole and natural plant-based foods (think lots of leafy greens and delicious fruits), then people would actually be compensated very well for making better dietary choices. Rich people could eat better, and poor people could too.
"If people see any food price rise, they get angry, so you have to explain why you are doing it,” Springmann said to the Guardian, suggesting that in addition to the benefits a plant-based diet would have on the earth, it also would ensure that fewer people would die from heart disease, strokes and cancers.
"Either we have climate change and more heart disease, diabetes and obesity, or we do something about the food system," Springmann concluded.