ABOUT GREEN COURSE
The Food & Climate chapter of Green Course was formed at the end of 2015, and started its activity in Jerusalem. The chapter is made up of a group of activists who are dedicated to speaking out about the relationship between food and climate change. The chapter focuses specifically on the need to reduce production and consumption of animal products, and the need to encourage a plant-based diet.
The motivation for this new focus at Green Course was the need to combat the environmental impacts of the livestock industry. Animal- based products place a massive burden on the environment, and are a leading contributor to all major environmental categories: water depletion and pollution, land use and degradation, biodiversity loss and of course- air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The current widely accepted estimation of GHG emissions from livestock is at 14.5% of all anthropogenic emissions; other estimations vary on a wide spectrum up to as high as 51%
Following Green Course’s way of conduct, the group has been focusing on both raising public awareness and initiating policy change. Therefore, campaigns to combat this issue include public outreach and petition signing, media relations (including newspaper, TV and radio appearances), social media and other digital outlets (including managing a Facebook page dedicated to the agenda) and lobby (including meetings with parliament members, participating in official discussions and producing reports on the agenda). Since this topic is interdisciplinary, another important character of the group is to create synergy between animals, health, social and environmental issues
Immediately after being formed, the group joined an ongoing struggle against poultry reform that aimed to enlarge the annual poultry production by additional 20 million chickens. This was particularly problematic as the incentive for this act was not based on expected rise in product demand. Instead,; the industry just wanted to reduce the price. Our actions were intense and targeted at policy makers: we met with parliament members, spoke at parliament discussions, sent emails and engaged newspapers. Two weeks later, with a successful collaboration and much determination, this campaign succeeded to prevent this horrible reform!
Another campaign that the food and environment chapter worked on was against live imports of animals. This refers to the transport of hundreds of thousands of calves and sheep to Israel for slaughter. This export takes up to several weeks over sea and is known for its extra-abusive experience for the animals, who do not fully survive the trip. For several months, we joined forces with Israeli animal rights groups to act against this practice. The environmental angle was then first broadly introduced to the campaign, and was presented at both public outreaches and in a number of parliament meetings that we participated in on the agenda. We then focused on including the need for livestock reduction within the Israeli Climate Pact
Following the Paris Agreement, Israel was to present its climate plan. Environmental NGOs produced an official recommended plan, and we were determined that the topic of food and climate will be included in this document
This was a great opportunity to push the issue of the climate impacts of dietary choices further towards the policy arena. The group then produced a detailed report on the topic that shows the potential reduction of GHG by shifting towards a plant-based diet. The report recommends a reduction in the production and consumption of animal agriculture, encourages implementation of a plant-based diet, and recommended a concrete list of policy tools to reach this goal. It is the first document we know of that is part of a climate strategy in Israel. The report was indeed included in the government’s initiative, and was signed by 20 environmental NGOs and several parliament members.
Our current campaign refers to the new food labeling reform promoted by the ministry of health, in which various food items will be marked with a healthy green label. We are all familiar with the harmful health and environmental effects of the livestock industry. Therefore we are campaigning to omit any label to animal based products that would present them as recommended to the public. Activists of the group will be happy to tell you more and get you to sign their petition in the stand they hold outside!
Since 2017, Green Course has been going global with its Food and Climate campaign
* COP23: Green Course held 2 side-events at COP23 with the focus on the need for a reduction of production and consumption of animal products. One event, which was in collaboration with ProVeg, included an expert’s panel on the topic. The event was a great success and attracted a large audience! The full event is available to watch here
The second event t included representatives of several NGOs worldwide who shared their methods of promoting the reduction of animal products and a shifting towards a plant-based diet in their countries.
*Green Course is also an active member of the international group FCA: Food and Climate Alliance
* COP24: Green Course is organizing a side event regarding food & climate at COP24 as well! The event is co-organized with the Humane Society International and is focused on discussing concrete policies to reduce animal products and encourage a shift towards a plant-based diet. The event takes place on December 13th at 11.30 AM. Link to digital Invite : The mitigation potential of plant-based diets: from science to policy