12/03/09 Vegetarianism - a Solution for Climate Changes

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On the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference, Animal Friends wants to hear the statement of the presidential candidates for the Croatian elelctions

The European Parliament will host a major event on global warming and food policy on December 3 where Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri and environmental activist Sir Paul McCartney will urge legislators and experts to focus on what an individual can do to fight climate change, for example by eating less meat.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) produced a major report "Livestock's Long Shadow" in 2006, according to which meat production is responsible for no less than 18% of total greenhouse gas emissions which is far more than the total of the world's transportation. According to this report the meat production is much less efficient in the use of natural resources and very intensive in emissions of greenhouse gases and water use as compared to equivalent vegetarian food production.

On the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen from December 7-18 and todays event in the European Parliament, the Croatian public is eager to learn about the position of the presidential candidates regarding steps we all have to take in order to slow down climate changes. Are our presidential candidates aware that climate change needs to be addressed at all levels – especially individual but also at local, regional, national, across Europe and worldwide, and are they ready to support the introduction of at least a weekly vegetarian day in Croatia in order to fight climate changes?

A president could have the greatest influence for positive changes on his citizens through his very own example. This is why Animal Friends wants to know whether the president candidates will go vegetarian or introduce at least a weekly vegetarian day in their diet in order to fight climate changes?

According to a public survey in 2007, Croatia has more than 150,000 vegetarians and vegans, while 86% of citizens support a vegetarian diet.

Local governments can certainly play a role in helping citizens to reduce their intake of meat and other animal products. The campaigns for weekly meatless days are appearing in different parts of the world. Notably in the case of the city of Ghent, Belgium, which introduced a vegetarian Thursday in partnership between an NGO and the city government. Together they have distributed maps of the city highlighting vegetarian eateries, while in all 35 city schools the menus are only vegetarian. Similar programs have started in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Hasselt, Belgium. In the UK, the Meat free Monday Campaign is encouraging people to discover the benefits of eating less meat. The Swedish government has also produced guidelines on healthy and climate-friendly eating which include a recommendation for meat reduction.

Because our food, and especially meat consumption, is such a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions, the most powerful resource we have in the fight against climate change may very well be our forks. Each time we eat a vegetarian meal instead of a meat-based meal, we contribute to mitigation of emissions of greenhouse gases which cause climate change.



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