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Campaign targets pope because of his environmental leadership and influence over 1.2bn Catholics

Environmental campaigners have issued a challenge to Pope Francis: go vegan for Lent and receive $1m for the charity of his choice.

The purpose of the Million Dollar Vegan campaign, led by 12-year-old Genesis Butler, is to encourage people to eat less meat and dairy in order to fight climate change. Global warming cannot be beaten without huge cuts in meat eating in rich nations, research shows, while reducing consumption of animal products also tackles pollution and the destruction of forests and wildlife.

Related: Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

Related: I did Veganuary, and now I’m staying vegan. Here’s what I’ve learned so far | Chris Packham

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