There is no Vaccine for the Climate Crisis.
The recent weather events are a reminder that the climate crisis has not gone away. We need leadership on this issue and it is not forthcoming!
As individuals there are actions we can take to help mitigate our part in it. Research shows that animal agriculture plays a big part in driving climate change and many people are choosing to eat plant-based foods as a way for them to ensure a sustainable future for their children.
“We have noticed many young people are keen to help mitigate climate change and they are doing so the easiest way they know how, by instigating a diet change. Many of them are convincing their parents to follow suit and the older folks see lasting benefits to their health when they make that switch,” media spokesperson Claire Insley said “Whether you go vegan for your health, for the animals or for the environmental benefits, it all helps. We could save up to 75% of our food related emissions by going vegan, so there is no time to waste. Try it now with our 7 day Dairy Free Challenge, or join the March 21 Day Easy Vegan Challenge to make an even bigger impact.”
Millennials are leading the change
Millennials in the US are choosing to help climate change with a diet change. 20% of millenials changing their diet are doing so to save the planet, according to YouGov America, with 13% of Gen X and 8% of Baby Boomers being aware of what they eat for these reasons. The Poore Report showed substantial reductions in food related carbon emissions with a plant-based diet. Switching to a plant-based diet remains the most effective way to save our planet.
Dairy is not a natural or necessary human food
The Vegan Society Aotearoa is issuing a challenge to everyone to go dairy-free this February and there is a 7 day Dairy Free Challenge, to help wean people from consuming dairy products. Dairy is not a natural food for humans to eat or drink beyond early childhood. It was only due to a genetic mutation that allowed some people to digest lactose beyond the age of 5. Most of the population remain unable to digest lactose, resulting in bloating, digestive issues, skin problems and it even exacerbates asthma.
The dairy industry impacts heavily on our land, our water and the cows. Historically native bush was cut down to provide pasture for sheep and now, cows. The removal of the bush exacerbates other problems such as soil erosion, it allows the land beneath to dry out during dry summers, often creating pans that then cause flooding when the rains return. A diverse ecosystem is more resilient to these fluctuations in rainfall, with trees protecting the ground, preventing evaporation and having the ability to suck up excess water when the downpours come.
Plant-based products soar in supermarkets
A spokesperson for Countdown said that plant-based products continue to be very popular with their customers, with a 30% increase from last year, in plant-based chilled products, such as milks, yoghurts, cheeses and meat alternatives. Countdown has taken measures to lower their impact on the planet by adopting a 2025 Sustainability Strategy, meeting many of their targets already. They have lowered their emissions by 9% this year, creating a 48% reduction since 2015.
What you buy and eat DOES make a difference
If everyone becomes more aware of their impact and tries to reduce it by as much as possible, many small actions can make a huge difference.
New Zealand’s largest emissions come from the animal agriculture sector, amounting to 48% of the total. This area has to be addressed, it can no longer be ignored. Reducing the number of livestock has to become part of the climate change strategy for Aotearoa. Addressing climate change has to be a priority for everyone, as everyone on the planet is affected by it.
The most effective course of action an individual can take is to switch to a plant-based diet. It is simply creating a new habit. This switch is more effective than swapping car journeys for a bicycle, or getting solar panels on a roof. There is a choice to make with each meal that is eaten. Try it now, people may be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is, or how delicious the food is. Sign up for a vegan or dairy-free challenge at www.tryvegan.org.nz
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