Climate change and our diet: What happened when Alex Beresford tried potato milk

  • Watch: Alex Beresford tries milk alternatives

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing us as a species.

Human activity during the past 200 years has left us standing on the brink of an environmental disaster - but it is not too late to make a change.

ITV weather presenter Alex Beresford has been finding out about the small, positive ways we can minimise our impact on the environment as part of a new series on ITV News.

In the final episode of the series, he looks at how small changes to our diet can have a significant impact on climate change around the globe...

  • Alex Beresford presents Climate Changes on ITV News

Statistics from the United Nations suggest meat and dairy production accounts for around 15% of greenhouse gas emissions.

So how many changes would we need to make to help reverse the impact on our planet?

Plant-based milks along with vegetarianism and veganism are becoming increasingly popular in today's society.

New figures show one in three households are now looking to buy diary-free milk as part of their new shopping habits.

Research scientist Taro Takahashi has spent years looking at the role agriculture plays in our society.

He said: "If one person goes from being a meat-eater to being a vegetarian or a vegan, the current scientific evidence shows the climate impact would be lower.

"Meat-eaters currently over-consume meat - they are taking so much more than required and that is leading to excessive and unnecessary emissions."

What does it mean for farming?

But what about those who want to keep meat and dairy in their diet in some form?

Sustainable farmers like Duncan Heale are working hard to reduce the environmental impact farming has on the climate.

His family have farmed conventionally for generations - but he realised increasing costs and decreasing profit called for a radical rethink.

Duncan Heale has moved to more sustainable farming methods.

Now he has now turned to more traditional methods, moving cattle frequently to let the grass recover. He says that means improved soil, meat and carbon capture.

"Herds of old days were kept very tight by predators and moved on very regularly," he said.

"The benefits of it - there's no nitrogen on here, we get 40% more production.

"Nature's got all the answers so my message is really, eat meat but eat meat that's grown from perennial crops like grass.

"A plant can take in CO2, release the O2 molecules and put pure carbon in the ground.

"We've got the solution here but we need to manage it correctly and we can bring climate change down, and I'm talking globally here."

  • Watch the final episode of our climate change series on ITV News at 6pm.