2021 Press Releases
 

Interfaith Leaders Urge UN’s COP26 to Adopt the Plant Based Treaty to Avert Climate Catastrophe

Media Contact(s): 

Lisa Levinson, Interfaith Vegan Coalition, [email protected], 215-620-2130

Anita Krajnc, Plant Based Treaty Global Coordinator, [email protected], 1-416-825-6080

GLASGOW (November 4, 2021)Over 100 interfaith leaders including Rabbi David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, and Rev. Shad Groverland, Executive Director of Unity Worldwide Ministries, as well as dozens of faith based organizations issued a strong message to COP26 delegates today, urging them to adopt the Plant Based Treaty as a companion to the Paris Agreement.

The open letter also urges delegates to the Glasgow Climate Change conference to endorse veganism as an important approach to averting a climate catastrophe. Given the plethora of delicious vegan options available today, adopting a vegan diet is easier than ever before. Emeritus Professor and President Emeritus of Jewish Veg Richard Schwartz coordinated the open letter initiative with Lisa Levinson, co-founder of In Defense of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan Coalition.

Read the complete letter and find the full signatories list at Interfaith Leaders Call for a Plant Based Treaty

Prominent religious dignitaries, scholars, leaders, and activists quoted below are among many signatories of the open letter: 

“The best approach to try to avert a climate catastrophe is through a societal shift toward plant-based diets. It not only significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, because there would be far fewer cows and other farmed animals emitting methane, it also would dramatically reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by permitting reforestation of over a third of the world’s ice-free land that is currently being used for grazing and raising feed crops for animals. This could reduce the current 420 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to a safe level below 350 ppm.” 

— Richard Schwartz, Emeritus Professor and President Emeritus of Jewish Veg 

“The welfare of the planet, humanity, and all life, is inseparably connected to how we treat one another. The Plant Based Treaty is a vital step in shifting our current path of destruction and harm, towards one of healing, wholeness and creating a sustainable world that works for all.” 

— Rev. Shad Groverland, Executive Director, Unity Worldwide Ministries

“The religious imperative to preserve and protect the Divine Creation demands a major shift to plant-based diets that will reduce emissions of methane gas, facilitate reforesting, and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide to much safer levels. Animal agriculture has garnered relatively little attention despite being one of the most damaging drivers of the planet’s destruction due to its greenhouse gas emissions, land degradation, deforestation, biodiversity loss, water consumption and pollution. Kudos to the Plant Based Treaty organization for highlighting this ‘cow in the room.’” 

— R. David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland

“The Buddha’s teachings (the Dharma) explicitly includes all sentient beings in the circle of compassion and non-harming. Although global warming and other devastating effects of raising animals for slaughter was not a concern when the Buddha lived, 2500 to 2600 years ago, if the Buddha were alive today, there is no doubt he would have advocated for an end to factory farming on behalf of both our fragile environment as well as animals themselves.” 

— Bob Isaacson, co-founder and Executive Director of Dharma Voices for Animals

“Climate change is the greatest threat to our world, God’s world, today. I commend the Plant Based Treaty organization for its dedicated efforts to increase awareness that a societal shift to vegan diets is essential to efforts to avert a climate catastrophe. Their efforts must succeed so that we can leave a decent, habitable world for future generations.” 

— Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Dean, The David Cardozo Academy, Jerusalem, author and international lecturer

“As a scholar of religious ethics across religious traditions, I heartily embrace the Plant Based Treaty. Each religion teaches humanity to live simply and compassionately, to share and protect the vulnerable, all of which now indicates a plant-based diet.” 

— L. A. Kemmerer, Ph.D., MTS. and author of Animals and World Religions

“God gave humans dominion over the Earth after He created us in His “image”. This means we are to exercise the same type of ‘dominion’ shown to us by caring for and nurturing each other and all of the creatures He created and loves. Tragically, we are failing in our appointment as stewards of this planet! The principles and goals of the Plant-Based Treaty are entirely in keeping with the tenor and message of the Bible, and the charge given to us by God to take care of the planet and all of its inhabitants.” 

— Dr. Milton Mills, MD, and Seventh-Day Adventist

​​“All religions have one underlying premise: kindness, compassion, and avoid inflicting pain. There is a way, three times a day, we can practice this fundamental spiritual principle. Eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes, in all their wonderful combinations, and avoid killing animals. It’s that simple. As the saying goes, peace begins on your plate.” 

— Jane Velez-Mitchell, journalist/author 

“Subsidizing the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes and urging our fellow citizens to eat plants and not meat will alleviate so many problems. For example, this will lead to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at a tiny fraction of the cost of developing alternative energy sources. As Jews, we are obligated to take good care of the Earth and conserve natural resources. We fulfill this obligation by eating plants and doing our part to slow and reverse climate change.” 

— Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, Executive Director, Jewish Veg

“Animal agriculture is polluting our planet and is a major threat to the safety of humanity. The Interfaith Vegan Coalition represents 36 member organizations and our partner the Animal Interfaith Alliance with 17 member organizations. Together, we urge Secretary-General Guterres to honor our cherished spiritual values by removing dirty animal agriculture from our food systems and practicing reverence for all sentient beings.” 

— Lisa Levinson, of In Defense of Animals and co-founder of the Interfaith Vegan Coalition.

ENDS

Images:

Interfaith leader photos: https://bit.ly/PlantTreatyInterfaith

Plant Based Treaty actions for COP26: https://bit.ly/PlantTreatyPressPixVid

ABOUT THE PLANT BASED TREATY

The Plant Based Treaty initiative is a grassroots campaign designed to put food systems at the forefront of combating the climate crisis. Modelled on the popular Fossil Fuel Treaty, the Plant Based Treaty aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture and to promote a shift to healthier, sustainable, plant-based diets.

The Treaty urges leaders to negotiate a global agreement around the following three principles:

  • RELINQUISH: No land use change, ecosystem degradation or deforestation for the purposes of animal agriculture
  • REDIRECT: An active transition away from animal-based agricultural systems to plant-based food systems
  • RESTORE: Restore key ecosystems and reforest the Earth

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries entered into a pact to limit global warming to below 2°C – and preferably 1.5°C – above pre-industrial levels. While reducing the use of fossil fuels is an important way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, alone it is not enough to meet this legally binding target. The Plant Based Treaty draws attention to the effects of meat, dairy and egg farming, which are driving carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions, three major greenhouse gases. Experts say methane reductions are probably the only way of avoiding temperature rises above 1.5°C, and the biggest opportunity to slow warming between now and 2040. 

Scientists, individuals, groups, businesses, and cities are endorsing this call to action to put pressure on national governments to negotiate an international Plant Based Treaty. Leveraging this grassroots support, the campaign will work towards 10 million individuals, 10,000 organisations, 10,000 businesses and 50 cities to endorse the treaty by 2023, ahead of the Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement (GST). Individuals, organisations, businesses and cities can endorse the Treaty by visiting https://plantbasedtreaty.org.

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