The undeniable link between climate change and animal agriculture still proves to be the elephant in the room in political discussions. Globally, the livestock industry generates at least 16.5% of our total global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as being the leading contributor to biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration, deforestation and water pollution. Animal agriculture is literally destroying our planet, so why is this major contributor to climate change being ignored by world leaders and stakeholders?
This November Glasgow will host the biggest climate conference in the world, COP26. World leaders from across the globe will unite to present their country’s plan to cut emissions and help limit the rise in global temperatures to just 1.5ºC, and we must ensure industrialised animal agriculture is put on the agenda. We cannot establish a truly comprehensive national climate protection strategy if we ignore the nearly 50 billion animals that are kept in factory farms worldwide. When you combine the deforestation of land for crops to feed these animals with the 3.5 billion tonnes of manure that pollutes our waterways, in addition to the gas emissions produced by these animals, it is glaringly obvious that we cannot sustain our current food system.
So, what do we do?
We must evolve our food system and put the emphasis on Diet Change, not Climate Change. With COP26 fast approaching, we must bring the impact of our food choices, especially those related to animal agriculture and meat production, to the attention of the public, media, and policymakers. We need your help in asking world leaders to formally recognise the impact of factory farming on global warming and ensure they commit to mitigation strategies that will support a just transition towards plant-centric food systems. By eliminating intensive farming and reducing the amount of meat and dairy consumed throughout the nation, we can tackle climate change head-on both through Government policy and the individual actions we make.
There are so many things we do in everyday life that have an environmental impact, and many of these we have limited control over in real terms. The easiest one, one we have total control over, and one of the individual actions that can make the biggest positive environmental impact, is choosing to actively reduce our meat and dairy consumption.
By shifting to a more plant-based diet, we can reduce our carbon footprint and show the world leaders at COP26 that we need diet change, not climate change.