If you and everyone you know switches to a mostly plant-based diet, it would not only be healthier for us humans, it would lower our carbon footprint and benefit the climate, and it will create millions of jobs in our economic region over the next 10 years, according to a new study on economic reasons for striving for "net-zero" emissions, that was just released.

By changing over our diets from animal-based to plant-based, it would create some 19 million jobs in economically hard-hit Latin America and the Caribbean, where it seems every day we read about a new hurricane that destroys property and lives, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut down tourism and trade, or other reason for economic hardship among the farming and growing communities we rely on for some of our favorite foods.

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The study, done in partnership by the International Labour Organisation and the Inter-American Development Bank, calls for the "decarbonization" of our food systems, and a switching over to net-zero emissions, which would create up to 22.5 million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean within the next ten years, 19 million in plant-based food production.

Making the transition from meat-heavy diets to more plant-based diets is not only better for human health and the planet but will drive higher employment from sustainable or low-carbon-footprint agriculture since the production of plant-based foods and "ecotourism" will create new opportunities and bolster up faltering economies that during the pandemic have only been made more fragile. The study — Jobs in a net-zero emissions future in Latin America and the Caribbean — found that a transition to plant-based diets would be an essential component of reaching net-zero emissions, according to a report by Forbes.

“Greater Opportunities”

“The pandemic has cruelly exposed the vulnerability of our societies," the study authors write. "The troubling levels of inequality have ensured the coronavirus has hit hard even the most prosperous countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Informal workers, who represent 49 percent of employment, have been severely affected by lockdowns and social distancing measures, which have limited or temporarily halted their livelihoods."

The same could be true in North America, as they add: "As the global economy gradually restarts following the COVID-19 lockdown, now is the time to craft a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future. "

They added:  "This collaborative effort is the first to document how shifting to healthier and more sustainable diets, which reduce meat consumption while increasing plant-based foods, would create jobs while reducing pressure on the region’s unique biodiversity."

Anyone interested in lowering their carbon footprint while helping economic opportunity in the region and around the globe should switch to a mostly plant-based diet, they concluded.