We are indeed going through a climate crisis that affects our oceans, seas and all biodiversity, leading to the disappearance of animal species, a crucial lack of water in a large number of regions of the world, and soil degradation. The reasons for this state of emergency are now well identified: oil and gas exploitation, CO2 emissions into the atmosphere from fossil fuels, large-scale deforestation and intensive animal agriculture.
Just tackling fossil fuels is not enough. We also need to act on food systems. ; The overwhelming scientific evidence lays bare the calamitous impact of animal agriculture and targets a plant food revolution as an essential solution. Despite critically important resolutions taken in the Paris Agreement, the latter hardly addressed the problem of animal agriculture. The Paris agreement leaves it up to countries, businesses and individuals to make changes. However, transformative changes to our food system have been largely ignored and sometimes even fought against at the government level.
If prominent researchers and scientists around the world are to be believed, it will be impossible for any government to achieve the goals set under the Paris Agreement without a major shift to plant-based diets, even if current fossil fuel emissions were completely stopped.
It is for this essential reason that the Treaty on a plant-based diet or Vegan Treaty came into being.
The three main greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - are at record levels and accelerating rapidly; animal agriculture contributes to all three areas, but is the main cause of methane and nitrous oxide emissions globally.
Scientists warned in the IPCC's sixth assessment that we must reduce methane or face collapse. Specialist Durwood Zaelke, founder and chairman of Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) said methane reductions were probably the only way to prevent temperature rises of 1.5 ° C from pre-industrial levels, otherwise extreme weather conditions will increase and several planetary tipping points could be triggered, from which there will be no return possible. Zaelke stresses that “reducing methane is the greatest opportunity to slow warming by 2040. We must face this emergency. "
We therefore see the crucial importance of working actively and effectively on these three greenhouse gases. They must be apprehended in the same proportion as the measures taken in other areas. Clean, plant-based energy solutions that can mitigate this disaster are within our grasp - we just need to implement them. The vegan treaty that will be presented at COP 26 proposes three major axes:
Request 1 | To give up:
End the use of land, including deforestation, for animal agriculture
- No construction of new livestock farms
- No construction of new slaughterhouses
- No expansion or intensification of existing farms
- No conversion from plant to animal agriculture
- No conversion of land for animal feed production
- No clearing of forests or other ecosystems for grazing, rearing or raising animals of any kind
- No new fish farms or expansion of existing fish farms
- Protection of indigenous peoples; their lands, rights and knowledge
- Ban all exports of live products
- No new large-scale industrial fishing vessels
Request 2 | Redirect:
Eliminate the driving forces behind the problem by promoting plant-based foods and actively transitioning food systems from animal origins to plant-based ones .
- Declare a climate emergency - join the more than 1,900 local governments in 34 different countries who have already done so
- Food security should be placed as a priority for all nations, with an emphasis on ending poverty and hunger and making nutritious food accessible to all.
- Recognize and support the central role of small farmers in feeding the planet; help them maintain (or restore) their autonomy over their land, water, seeds and other resources
- Prioritize the switch to plant-based foods in climate action plans
- Update government food and feed guidelines to promote whole plant-based foods
- Design public information campaigns to raise awareness of climate, environmental benefits and the health benefits of plant-based foods, nutrition and cooking
- Aim to reduce public consumption of food of animal origin through education in schools
- Transition to plant-based meal plans in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and government institutions
- Require honest labeling of food products, including cancer warning labels on all processed meats that have been declared carcinogenic by the World Health Organization
- Introduce a tax on meat (including fish), the proceeds of which finance the restoration of land destroyed by animal agriculture
- Subsidize fruits and vegetables to make whole foods, plant-based diets more affordable and end food deserts that hurt low-income communities
- Reorient government subsidies for animal agriculture, slaughterhouses and industrial fishing towards environmentally friendly production of plant foods
- End government-sponsored advertising for the meat, dairy and egg industry
- Create green bonds to finance a transition to a green economy
- Provide financial support and training to farmers, ranchers and fishermen to move away from animal production instead of diverse (ideally organic agroecological) plant-based systems
Request 3 | Restore:
Actively apply remedies to the problem while building resilience and mitigating climate change, namely restoring ecosystems and reforesting forests .
- Reforestation projects to be implemented in appropriate ecosystems using native tree species to restore habitats to a previously similar state
- Reforestation and restoration of the oceans are prioritized by designating additional areas of the oceans as non-fishing marine protected areas (known as highly protected marine areas - HPMA)
- All existing marine protected areas should be declared strictly without fishing grounds and converted to HPMAs.
- Active programs deployed to replant critical carbon absorbers in the oceans, such as seagrass beds
- Restore the main degraded ecosystems that are essential for carbon sequestration cycles: mangroves, peatlands, forests, certain types of grassland
- Focus on nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation to these changes
- Grants made available to farmers and landowners who practice good land stewardship and actively restore land and associated ecosystem services (such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity, flood defense, general resilience to change climate)
- Grants made available for rewilding and reforestation projects
- Subsidies / subsidies incentivized for farmers to switch from animal agriculture to diversified crop production
- Cities: increase trees and wild flowers, increase green community projects, wildlife corridors, green roofs, local cultivation programs, work to increase biodiversity
- Improve food justice by providing access to healthy food for all, especially low-income communities of color
- Reuse available land freed from animal grazing for: rewilding, reforestation (if applicable), nature reserves, hiking areas, community cultivation, housing estates (if applicable), agroecological cultivation (if possible)
- Transfer of part of the land ownership in the hands of the community so that the land can be reused for reforestation, green spaces and community food gardens and subdivisions.
Many celebrities around the world have echoed this approach and took advantage of their notoriety to support the treaty and advocate a plant-based diet. Among these famous voices, Paul McCartney, already an activist in the fight against climate change, urged the leaders of COP26 - the United Nations Climate Change Conference of 2021 - to recognize the role that animal agriculture plays in our rapidly deteriorating planet.
McCartney - with the support of his family - called COP26 delegates to adopt the Treaty vegan (plant-based treaty) to accompany the Paris Agreement, the international agreement concluded in 2015 to COP21 covering the climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance. “We believe in justice for animals, the environment and people. That is why we support the Plants Treaty and urge individuals and governments to sign it, ” the McCartneys said in a joint statement.
The McCartneys are part of a large group of personalities who are in favor of such a treaty. Ela Ghandi, Joaquim Phoenix, Rooney Mara, Moby, Peter Egan to name a few, also gave their full support.
As explained by Anita Krajnc, coordinator of the Global Campaign of the Treaty on plants, in a statement: "All over the world, scientists, government officials, religious leaders and celebrities call now stopped from the expansion of animal agriculture and deforestation, to the shift to a plant-based food system, reforestation and re-naturalization of land. More and more people are recognizing that the consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs results in emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, the three main greenhouse gases - now we need that COP26 delegates and other leaders recognize this. "