Climate Change Minister challenged to help climate change.

Climate Change Minister NZ

To mark International Water Day, the Vegan Society has challenged the Climate Change Minister James Shaw, to eat vegan for 21 days.

Almost all New Zealand rivers running through urban and farming areas (95-99%) carry pollution above water quality guidelines, while most of the nation’s wetlands (90%) have been drained, and many freshwater fish species (76%) are threatened or at risk. Changing diet is the simplest and most effective action humans can take to mitigate climate change. The Climate Change Minister needs to lead the way against climate change and this one simple action can reduce his food carbon footprint by up to 75%.

The Poore Report has shown that carbon emissions due to food can be swiftly reduced by adopting a plant-based diet. It is more effective than choosing renewable energy, or swapping your car for a bicycle. Humans need to eat daily and as the planetary resources are overused, with pressures increasing on water, land, biodiversity and wildlife, what people eat has never been a more important subject.

Not one single political party or NGO has food on its agenda. With nearly 50% of Aotearoa’s carbon emissions being due to agriculture, the top priority should be addressing this. However, this is far from the case, with Dr Shaw even saying that it was not his job to suggest farmers reduce their livestock numbers. It literally IS his job to say exactly that.

“Our Climate Change Minister should be leading the way on the subject of climate change, but he is not. As a scientist he surely knows the facts and figures involved, but simply will not commit to creating effective mitigation measures in Aotearoa,” media spokesperson for the Vegan Society, Claire Insley said, “The one thing that we all have control over, is what we eat. This is the most effective action anyone can take to mitigate the effects of climate change in their own lives. On International Water Day it’s important to remember that at least 95% of rivers in NZ that run through urban and farming areas carry pollution levels above water quality guidelines. You have to ask what kind of world are we leaving for our children to inherit?”

The Climate Change Commission has said that the dairy herds need to decrease by 15% over the next 10 years, but there seems to be little action taken in this direction. Government agencies are too scared to ask farmers to reduce their herds, even in the face of falling milk prices and mass slaughters of dairy herds in other parts of the world. Dairy farming is destroying the waterways, sucking up valuable groundwater, polluting rivers with nitrate runoffs and creating huge problems with winter “mudfarming”.

With only 7 years left to enact meaningful actions to stop runaway climate change, which will result in massive disruption in weather patterns, more storms, floods and droughts. The cost of not taking action is hugely more than the cost of mitigation, so why are governments world over still ignoring the crisis? Such knowledge can seem overwhelming, but there are simple actions that everyone can take and going vegan is one such action.

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To mark International Earth Day (22nd April), the Vegan Society has challenged the Climate Change Minister James Shaw, to eat vegan for 21 days.