Mitigating Climate Change by reducing animal-products
and encouraging a shift towards a plant-based diet
Animal agriculture places a massive burden on the environment, and is a leading contributor to all major categories of environmental damage: water depletionand pollution, land use and degradation, biodiversity loss, air pollution, andgreenhouse gas emissions. The current common estimation of GHG emissionsfrom the livestock industry is 14.5% of all anthropogenic emissions, whileother estimations suggest even higher values.
Amain reason for this massive environmental impact is the high level of resourcewaste in the production process of animal products, as it includes a whole production system of plant foods used as animal fodder. Conversion rates fromfodder to animal products are very poor due to the differences in human/inhumanfood and water intakes and massive calorie loss in the process.
Animal-agriculturein Israel includes 41 million chickens, 461,000 cows, 682,000 sheep and 19,000pigs raised in Israel. While Israel is known for its high (and growing) amount of vegetarians and vegans, it still accounts for a country with one ofthe highest rates of meat and dairy consumptions. In fact, according to the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook, Israel is the largest consumer of poultry andthe 6th largest consumer of meat per capita among OECD countries (8).
Aplant-based diet has a much smaller environmental impact, as it uses much lessresources, and emits a substantially lower amount of GHG’s than animal-based diets. A comparison betweenproteins sources show that animal-based protein emits up to 30 times more GHGs,requires up to 17 times more land and up to 26 times more water than plant-based protein. This reveals a great potential for climate changemitigation by shifting towards a plant based diet. In fact, a recentcomprehensive research has found that such shift can reduce up to 70% of GHG emissions from the food sector (which is the sector with the highest emissioncontribution of all sectors. Another study found that the most significantmethod to mitigate climate change through changes initiated in food systems isa diet change towards a plant based diet, as such change could generate areduction of up to Gt CO2e/year.
The Food and Environment Chapter of Green Course seeks to minimize the production and consumption of animal-based products in Israel. The chapter is made up of a group of activists who meet weekly in order to build, develop, and execute campaigns that further this agenda. Among of the things are fighting at the policy-level and behavioral level to encourage the consumption of a plant-based diet. We are calling for global partners to join us in encouraging the reduction of animal-based foods and the increase in a plant-based diet through both policy and educational outreach. Israel – and the world at large – have committed to reducing GHG emissions, and protecting our water, air, soil, and lands. This cannot be done without reducing production and consumption of animal-agriculture.
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
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