Daily Mirror

If you want to save wild plants, eat more plants

Attenborou­gh’s plea for planet

- BY NICOLA METHVEN TV Editor nicola.methven@mirror.co.uk @mirrormeth­s

THE world would be “healthier, safer and happier” if we all ate less meat, Sir David Attenborou­gh will tell viewers this weekend.

In the final instalment of his BBC1 series The Green Planet, the veteran broadcaste­r turns his attention to human relationsh­ips with plants.

He says: “We rely on plants for our very existence – but our relationsh­ip with them is changing. How it changes will shape the future of our planet.”

Currently 80% of cultivated land is used for raising livestock for us to eat. Sir David, 95, says: “Plants can produce the same amount of protein on a fraction of the land that animals need.

“It may sound odd but the more plants we eat, the more space there will be for wild plants.”

Executive producer Mike Gunton explained: “What David says, very carefully, is if you want to save wild plants, eat more plants. He’s not saying don’t eat meat, but the more plants you eat, the more the land will be cultivated for plant eating.”

The episode Human Worlds looks at the relationsh­ip between plants and people in different parts of the globe including California, Canada, Hawaii and Kenya. It examines the dangers of mono-cultures – one crop spread over thousands of acres, as with almonds in California, where bees are trucked in to pollinate 140 million trees.

Or as has happened in Canada where forests of lodgepole pine are dying because winters are no longer cold enough to kill the mountain pine beetles which fatally damage them. But a project in Brazil brings great hope, where land cleared for cattle grazing was allowed to return to a rainforest and has been successful, with wolves and pumas returning.

Scientists go further than Sir David, saying that ending animal farming would bring the same benefits as cutting carbon emissions by 68%.

They found greenhouse gas emissions would plummet and the new vegetation would help convert 725 billion tons of CO2.

Prof Michael Eisen at the University of California said it “has the potential to reduce atmospheri­c levels of all three major greenhouse gases, which, because we have dithered in responding to the climate crisis, is now necessary to avert catastroph­e”.

The Green Planet: Human Worlds, Sunday, BBC1, 7pm.

 ?? ?? SUCCESS Farmland in Brazil transforme­d into rainforest
SUCCESS Farmland in Brazil transforme­d into rainforest GREEN PLEA Sir David
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