Countries of the world, including Saudi Arabia, are currently gathered in Egypt to discuss how to protect and sustainably use the world’s natural resources (because, let’s face it, if we continue doing things the way we are – we are going to run out of them pretty soon).
There are lots of issues being discussed including how to protect coral reefs, reduce deforestation, and endangered plants and animals
An important conversation going at the conference for the United Nation’s Convention on Biodiversity revolves around deforestation and how to reduce it.
Currently, the biggest contributor to deforestation is the meat industry (no seriously)
Over 2.71 million hectares of tropical forests are destroyed to pasture for beef cattle every year. To put it into perspective, this is more than half of tropical deforestation in South America, and more than five times as much as any other commodity in the region.
An obvious solution to this is that we limit the amount of meat we consume as a society.
And Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, a Saudi royal, who is one of the most powerful advocates of sustainable eating in the country has been speaking out about the issue, not just locally, but around the world, including the freakin’ UN.
The prince’s plant-based journey began when his concern for the environment and his health piqued. Research eventually led him to his vegan diet, which he adopted in 2009 and has since stood by.
Prince Khaled has been noted to say that he wants his legacy to pave the way for a greener and cleaner planet.
And it’s paying off
There’s already a small but growing community of vegans in Saudi Arabia that are truly doing their best to create a platform to unify other potential vegans in the Kingdom.
And Prince Khaled is continuously investing in more plant-based and sustainable food options in the country.
The Prince also recently announced plans to open nearly a dozen vegan restaurants throughout the Middle East.
In a post on his Facebook page, he shared his vision:
“By 2020 we are aiming to have a minimum of 10 restaurants/cafes. Our region occupies parts of the top ten most obese counties in the world. This is crazy and frankly a joke we have reached this level,” Prince Khaled, 38, wrote. “I’m not saying opening 10 restaurants will solve this issue, but you better believe it’s a step in the right direction.”
With what he called a “personal commitment to the gulf for the gulf,” he added that with “God’s permission,” his team will be opening “vegetarian restaurant in 8 cities in the middle east [sic] with 10 restaurants during 2020.”
A map accompanying the post shows locations marked in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates.