It's Earth Overshoot Day

The Solutions to Climate Change Lie with our Farming

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The Vegan Society Aotearoa New Zealand is handing in a petition to call upon the government to support farmers to transition towards a plant-based economy. It’s happening on Earth Overshoot Day, which is 28th July this year.

The petition is calling for the government to support and incentivise animal farmers to diversify and transition towards plant-based farming. This would mean payments towards reducing ruminant stock numbers, whilst putting those payments towards growing plants instead. This allows for a just transition from animal agriculture to a plant-based economy. New Zealand farmers need to act now to future proof their livelihoods. The world is changing, and they must adapt to the new circumstances.

New Zealand’s climate emissions are amongst the highest in the world per capita, in fact this country is one of the few to have increased emissions over the past decade. The good news is that 50% of those emissions are due to agriculture and that is something that can be changed. The world is moving towards eating plant-based and New Zealand must move with the times and be able to capitalize on that. Reducing the ruminant herds would rapidly decrease NZ’s methane emissions, the most potent greenhouse gas.

The dire need for change in the way humanity does things is getting stronger every day. Every time humans make the choice to cut down a tree, pollute a river, expand the dairy herd etc, this brings the world closer to ecological collapse.

The UN states that there are less than 8 years left to enact meaningful change. Currently there is time to curb the worst scenarios of climate chaos, but humanity must act now.

Petition ambassador, Gareth Hughes, ex Green Party MP and climate change activist, says “The good news is that we have the solutions right now. We don’t have to wait for new technology. We’ve adapted before, we are smart, we are innovative, and we have the tools. We are calling on the government to support farmers for a more resilient system that moves away from animal agriculture towards crops, forestry, natives and protecting biodiversity. New Zealand needs to look to the future, not continue to prop up the past”

Media spokesperson for the Vegan Society, Claire Insley, said “Growing more plants is the best solution to mitigate climate change, but the farming system must change. There needs to be a reduction in the ruminant herds, the production of plant matter needs to increase. The quicker these changes are implemented, the better humanity’s chances for survival.

The most pressing issue for the planet is climate change, it affects every living being on the planet. Plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen, so the easiest solution is growing more plants, whilst stopping animal agriculture. This is because it is a prime cause of deforestation and has reduced the Amazon rainforest to the point where it is no longer operating as an ecosystem. A similar story is told in forests all over the world. Plants use a fraction of the land and water resources that housing and feeding animals use. It is simple maths that the planet cannot continue to support animal agriculture.

The time has come for NZ farmers to “adapt or die”. There is no place for animal agriculture in the new paradigm. The quicker Aotearoa’s farmers can make this change, the better for everyone, including the farmers! With an expanding population, there needs be more efficient ways to do things and growing plants to feed people directly is far more efficient than growing plants to feed to animals to then feed to humans. In the end everyone wins. People’s health improves as they eat less fat and no cholesterol, the infertile land can be rewilded, the arable land can grow more than enough food for the growing population, biodiversity increases as wildlife habitats are restored, the methane emissions decrease rapidly, all the extra plants are cleaning the air.

New Zealand must be part of the change and lead the way in more efficient plant production. This petition is a “call to arms” to encourage the necessary changes that are required if humanity is to make it to the end of this century. It will be handed over to the Green Party member with the portfolio for Agriculture, Teanau Tuiono on Earth Overshoot Day, at midday on the 28th of July. There needs to be public encouragement and government support for these changes.

The petition is supported by the following organisations and Kiwi businesses: A Guide to Vegan, Animals Aotearoa, Better Futures Forum, Deavoll Construction Limited, Evidence Based Eating, Fitness Locker, Greenpeace NZ, Kaiaroha Vegan Deli and Eatery, Lorax Group Limited, Mylk Made, New Zealand Anti Vivisection Society, New Zealand Vegetarian Society, Plant Based NZ Health Trust, SAFE, Tanglewood Foundation, The Lentil Intervention, The Plant Based Treaty, Ulenberg Eco-Architects Ltd, V & V, Vegan Society Aotearoa, Vice Cream Limited and Wellington Vegan Actions.

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