Environment: Climate change activist and former Vice President Al Gore has taken up another environmental challenge; giving up the Christmas turkey and all its trimmings to embrace veganism.
The 65 year-old actually made the leap a few months ago, but it was kept from mainstream attention until United States-based business magazine Forbes recently outed him as a 'newly turned vegan'.
In 2009, Mr. Gore told ABC that he had cut back on the amount of meat he consumed. "It's absolutely correct that the growing meat intensity of diets around the world is one of the issues connected to this global crisis - not only because of the CO2 involved, but also because of the water consumed in the process. You could add in the health consequences as well."
The impacts of a meat-based diet on the planet is well documented and include deforestation, which accounts for 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the pollution of waterways and increases in greenhouse gases like methane. In New Zealand, the agricultural industry is responsible for the lion's share of our greenhouse gas emissions, a whopping 47.1 per cent.
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Mr. Gore joins a list of celebrities increasingly opting for the vegan option including Mike Tyson, comedian Russell Brand, actress Natalie Portman and the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. Since adopting veganism in 2010, Mr. Clinton has shed more than 13 kilograms.
Veganism is a lifestyle choice where practitioners abstain from the use of all animal products.
Vegan diets rule out dairy, eggs, meat and, in some cases, products like honey, opting instead for meals based on whole grains, pulses, nuts and fresh fruit and vegetables.
These diets are often rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fibre and contain less cholesterol and saturated fats than meat-based diets.
Vegans also refuse animal products for clothing, rejecting products like leather and silk.