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Urgent Calls To Action For Earth Day

April 18, 2024 

April 22nd is Earth Day! It’s time to celebrate our beautiful Earth, the creatures living here, and commit to making positive changes. Everything we do matters, but this year let’s try to go beyond symbolic activities and take real action before it’s too late. Organizations should urgently put out a call to action and support a transition to a plant-based food system. As The Safe and Just report explains, “We are on track for a breakdown of Earth’s systems and societies unless bold action is taken on food systems.”

It would be hugely beneficial for Earth Day organizations to add food systems to their calls to action and encourage people to transition away from animal agriculture and eating animals and animal products. These organizations can reach a lot of people with their campaigns and programs, and Earth Day is the perfect time to encourage everyone to eat more plants. Addressing fossil fuels alone is not enough — we need action on food systems too; that’s where the Plant Based Treaty comes in. We must all work together for positive change.

Keep reading to find out what environmentalists and environmental groups can do for Earth Day and the organizations leading the way to save our planet.

What can environmentalists do?

What we eat matters! Adopting a plant-based diet is the most important thing anyone can do for Earth Day. The IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land agrees that moving towards eating a plant-based diet will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to food.

Yes, we need to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, but that is not enough. Food systems should change immediately, and we must move away from animal agriculture and promote a shift to a healthy, more sustainable plant-based diet.

“There is a climate, ocean and biodiversity crisis. Fossil fuels and animal agriculture are the driving force behind runaway global warming as well as extensive biodiversity loss, large-scale deforestation, species extinction, water depletion, soil degradation and ocean dead zones.”

As explained in the Safe & Just Report, we stand at the intersection of urgency and hope, the global food system must become a future carbon sink and fundamental agent in regenerating and strengthening our biosphere’s innate resilience.

Animal agriculture contributes to all three main greenhouse gasses and is the main cause of methane and nitrous oxide emissions globally. We should encourage friends, family members, and colleagues to sign the Plant Based Treaty and download the free vegan starter kit.

Don’t forget to check out the reading hub, sign petitions, and ask your city to endorse it too.

Looking for reading material? Add these to your list!

Regenesis: Feeding The World Without Devouring The Planet

Being The Change: Live Well And Spark A Climate Revolution

Healthy At Last: A Plant-Based Approach to Preventing and Reversing Diabetes and Other Chronic Illnesses

Host an Earth Day screening

Host an Earth Day screening! If you are already a vegan or climate activist (thank you!) it’s still important to watch documentaries because they are packed with evidence to use in conversations. So pick a film and a healthy meal or tell guests it’s vegan potluck movie night.

Eating Our Way To Extinction

You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment

What The Health

The Game Changers

Seaspiracy

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

What can environmental groups do?

Environmental groups must share truthful information about animal agriculture and lead by example with plant-based food campaigns. Greenpeace takes the climate fight seriously and advocates for sustainable food in addition to challenging fossil fuel corporations and holding them responsible for their crimes.

“Greenpeace demands a healthy future that ensures our children live in a world with fresh air, abundant forests and a stable climate. Luckily, a global movement is growing in response: one with the appetite for a better way of eating and producing food.

 

We must say no to massive government subsidies to expand megafarms. We must eat less meat and dairy and more plants. We must demand a global food system that is fair and sustainable for farmers and food workers. Together, we’re determined to change the future of food.”

© Kristian Buus / Greenpeace

Greenpeace calls out the meat industry as doing exactly what big oil does to fight climate action and says the marketing playbook it uses is no different from the one deployed by the tobacco or alcohol industries in the last decades.

Another environmental organization with a plant-based food campaign is World Wildlife Fund (WWF). They are continuously sharing information on the importance of plant-based diets and use evidence backed by science.  

“Plant-based diets will ensure everyone on the planet has healthy and nutritious food and will help bend the curve on the negative impacts of the food system, moving from one which exploits the planet to one which restores it for nature and people.”

WWF explains that switching to plant-based diets helps reverse nature loss, halt deforestation, and reduce water use and pollution. They state we must see the warning signs of a planet in crisis in the form of climate change, human health, pandemics, and biodiversity loss. This imperative information should be a bigger focus for Earth Day campaigns; and organizations can reach the masses through plant-based workshops, seminars, food giveaways, screenings, social media campaigns, and education in schools.

EAT Forum is the science-based global platform for food system transformation and the EAT-Lancet Commission suggests a global planetary health diet that is good for the planet and people. Plant Based Treaty seeks to drive dietary change at scale, along a range from a vegan diet to EAT-Lancet’s Planetary Health Diet, which would reduce consumption of animal-based foods in nearly all developed countries by 75% by 2050.

Environmental groups can endorse the Plant Based Treaty as an organization and join thousands of others, including, the UK and German Health Alliance on Climate Change, Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, and chapters of Fridays For Future, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

Of course, it’s beneficial on Earth Day (and every day!) to walk instead of drive, eliminate plastics, fly less, save energy at home, clean up beaches, reject fast fashion, and recycle, but it’s critical that all environmental organizations go beyond this and support a transition to a plant-based food system. In fact, you can be the change with your next meal.

Miriam Porter is an award-winning writer who writes about veganism, social justice issues, and eco-travel. Miriam currently lives in Toronto with her son Noah and many rescued furry friends. She is a passionate animal rights activist and speaks up for those whose voices cannot be heard.

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