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Dear vegans, moo-chas gracias! Pixabay

As you might already know, Earth really needs us to eat less meat. That's why it's so encouraging to hear a record-number of people tried going vegan this January.

Organizers behind Veganuary, the UK-based charity that started the month-long pledge, reported 250,000 sign-ups for their 2019 campaign. That's more pledges in the previous four years combined, the group cheered.

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Birds are moved quickly down the line. Compassion Over Killing

By Laura Cascada

One of the U.S.'s most dangerous industries is becoming even more hazardous for workers, as animal welfare and consumer safety are also put on the line. The federal government is allowing more and more slaughter plants to kill animals at increasingly dangerous rates.

At the end of September, the Trump administration announced that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would be granting waivers allowing chicken slaughter plants to operate at higher kill speeds—going from a staggering 140 birds killed per minute (or more than two birds every single second) to 175.

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Chris So / Toronto Star / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

Nebraska is the country's second-leading producer of beef, and is in the top ten of pork producers.

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Colorful, fresh organic vegetables. fcafotodigital / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

An international panel of health scientists and climate researchers has prescribed a new diet for the planet: more vegetables, less meat, fresh fruit, whole grains and pulses, give up sugar, waste less and keep counting the calories.

And if 200 nations accept the diagnosis and follow doctor's orders, tomorrow's farmers may be able to feed 10 billion people comfortably by 2050, help contain climate change, and prevent 11 million premature deaths per year.

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Power plants like this one need to be retired at the end of their natural life to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Peter Cade / The Image Bank / Getty Images

It is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications found, as long as we act immediately to phase out fossil fuels.

The study used a climate model to determine what would happen if, beginning at the end of 2018, all existing fossil fuel infrastructure—from industrial equipment to cars to planes to ships to power plants—was replaced with renewable alternatives at the end of its design lifetime. The researchers found there would be a 64 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, in line with the most ambitious goal of the Paris agreement.

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Weedezign / iStock / Getty Images Plus

2018 was a year in which the threats facing our planet—from plastic pollution to climate change―became impossible to ignore. As scientists and journalists continued to sound the alarm, ordinary people stepped up to do something about it. Sometimes it can be hard to believe that one person's action can make a difference in the face of such enormous challenges, but big changes are made up of little actions. So if you are looking for a New Year's resolution for 2019, why not add saving the earth to the list? To get you inspired, the EcoWatch staff is sharing successful green changes we made to our lives last year, as well as the improvements we plan to make in the year to come.

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