Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Here are the recent research reports that can be found on our website. http://cloudbridge.org/
Climate Change :
One thing that is often not discussed for climate change mitigation is our food systems. In this open letter to Al Gore the discussion of agriculture and diets is addressed.
At the Seattle Climate Reality Project training, Mr. Gore and the expert panel of scientists addressed a question about the UN Food and Agriculture Organization finding that animal agriculture accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector.
Mr. Gore essentially answered that while animal agriculture is a significant contributor of GHG and he himself is vegan, it is inevitable that meat will remain a large part of people’s diets, and that consequently we should look towards improved practices such as rotational grazing.
One of the most compelling components of Mr. Gore’s materials is the conclusion that we must change, we can change, and we will change our energy infrastructure. The same is true of the food system, and we look forward to Mr. Gore reaching this conclusion as he continues his essential work in the fight to reduce the impact of climate change.
The science is in that we must change our diets:
- A 2014 analysis by the University of Cambridge found that “the agriculture-related emissions in our business-as-usual scenario alone almost reach the full 2C target emissions allowance for 2050,” and the only scenario that would reduce emissions in 2050 compared to 2009 levels was the low-meat “healthy diet” scenario. Furthermore, “Almost all of these large GHG emission savings (5.6 out of ∼6 GtCO2e yr−1 ) are associated with livestock reductions.”
- Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future summarized five studies which all demonstrated that the most dramatic declines in greenhouse gases are made possible through reduction in meat consumption.
- Chalmers University in Sweden concludes that, “Large reductions, by 50% or more, in ruminant meat consumption are, most likely, unavoidable if the EU targets are to be met” because “technological options alone are very unlikely to be sufficient.”
- A meta-analysis of 120 studies found that if Americans transitioned to a plant-based diet it could reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 79%, as well as avoiding 460,861 premature deaths, and saving $289 billion in health care and climate change mitigation costs.
- A team of researchers from four universities found that by simply replacing beef with beans, the United States could immediately “achieve approximately 46 to 74% of the reductions needed to meet the 2020 GHG target for the U.S. In turn, this shift would free up 42% of U.S. cropland.”
- The Global Calculator from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change allows people to see these stunning results for themselves. Selecting the Chatham House “high meat” and “low meat” categories displays the dramatic disparity in the degree of warming achieved with maximal or minimal changes to diet, while holding other abatement strategies steady.
It is evident that we can change our food system. Unlike the energy sector, which requires technological innovation, changes in energy policy, and infrastructure investments, the food system can be shifted much more rapidly and readily. Plant-based proteins require less land, water, and energy to produce, and are generally less expensive than animal-based protein. In fact, simple supply and demand is already accomplishing this change; beef consumption has fallen 19% since 2005, reducing GHG emissions equivalent to the tailpipe emissions from 39 million cars.
So it is not only true that we will change our diets, but in fact we are already changing. 60% of adults surveyed report a reduction in their consumption of animal-based protein. The numbers are even more potent when examined generationally: “12% of millennials report being ‘faithful vegetarians,’ compared to 4% of Gen X’ers and 1% of baby boomers.”
Just as the clean energy sector has seen a positive spiral – ideologically-driven increased demand leads to increased investment and innovation, which leads to increased availability and decreased price, which leads to market-driven increased demand – so too the plant-based food sector is seeing a similar spiral. Vegetarian protein is consistently a top food trend. In fact, even meat and dairy companies are seeing the writing on the wall and investing in plant-based foods:
- Tyson Foods, one of the largest meat producers in the world, recently bought a 5% stake in Beyond Meat, makers of plant-based chicken and beef products.
- Pinnacle Foods, the company famous for Hungry Man frozen dinners, bought Gardein, makers of an array of plant-based meats.
- Danone, the parent company of Dannon Yogurt, recently bought Whitewave, the parent company of Silk and So Delicious plant-based dairy products, for $10 billion.
Technology is also playing a role. Millions of dollars in venture capital are flooding to companies like Impossible Foods, makers of the plant-based “burger that bleeds.” There have also been recent breakthroughs in “clean meat” by companies like Memphis Meats who culture animal muscle tissue to grow animal protein. This process generates 96% less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional animal agriculture, and also uses 99% less land and 96% less water.
As plant-based products become more accessible, affordable, and accepted, the stigma of discussing diet is falling away. Thanks to the rise of movements like Meatless Monday and Green Monday, as well as “flexitarian” or “reducetarian” diets, discussing food choices is no longer an all-or-nothing proposition.
At a time when people are desperate for ways to make change, there is no reason to ignore one of the most effective and immediate ways for individual consumers to curb climate change and many of the most pressing environmental issues facing our world.
In light of these facts, the undersigned Climate Reality Project trainees implore Mr. Gore and the Climate Reality Project leadership team to incorporate animal agriculture more thoroughly into CRP materials as both a significant contributor to climate change and a shining reason for hope.
Factory Farming Awareness Coalition
Climate Reality Leadership Training Seattle, 2017
If anyone is interested in taking the Climate Reality Training with Al Gore the next sessions coming up in 2019 are March In Atlanta Georgia USA, and June in Melbourne Australia. https://www.climaterealityproject.org/training?segment=web_homepage_tile
If you live near these locations it is well worth going to. The training is free. You just have to get yourself there.
- General volunteers;
- Bird interns interested in a study on mixed-feeding flocks (to start late January), or long-term bird monitoring study (to start late February/early March);
- Research interns interested in a topic of your choosing;