by Tina Olivero

    A Groundbreaking Report Proposes a Plant-Based Path to Save Our Planet

    December 12, 2023

    In a historic moment at COP28, the Plant-Based Treaty presented a groundbreaking report that offers a comprehensive framework for tackling the climate crisis. The report outlines specific proposals that emphasize the urgent need for a global shift from animal agriculture to a plant-based food system. The document, titled “Eating Our Way to the Planetary Brink,” aims to address the critical challenges posed by the current global food system and presents an opportunity to mitigate the environmental impact of our dietary choices.

    Plant-Based Eatwell Guide

    The Global Food System’s Impact on Climate Change

    The report begins by highlighting the far-reaching consequences of the current global food system, which touches on all nine planetary boundaries regulating Earth’s stability. Not only is the food system the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions — surpassing all forms of transportation — but it also neglects crucial factors such as food security, sustainability, and community health. This global challenge underscores the need for transformative solutions to safeguard the planet’s future.

    Environmental impacts of foods

    The Urgency of a Plant-Based Transition

    A key proposition of the report is the urgent need to transition from animal agriculture to a plant-based food system. By doing so, the report contends that we can not only feed the world using just one billion hectares of land but also rewild three-quarters of current agricultural land. Steven George, co-author of the report, emphasizes the significance of this shift, stating, “Scientists have warned us that even if we phase out fossil fuels today, food emissions alone are enough to put the 1.5°C and 2°C targets out of reach.”

    The Lag in Food Policy and the Missing Revolution

    The report calls attention to the lag in food policy, asserting that while global per capita meat consumption has surged since the 1980s, corresponding food policy has fallen 30 years behind energy initiatives. Anita Krajnc, Global Campaign Coordinator and Co-author of the report expresses concern over the slow progress in achieving a plant-based agricultural revolution. The report, presented as the “Safe and Just Report,” aims to bridge this gap by incorporating renowned economist Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut Economics” model and climate researcher Johan Rockstrom’s planetary boundary framework.

    Meat consumption per capita

    A Framework for Change

    The Safe and Just Report features 40 detailed proposals for a global plant-based transition, addressing critical issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and ocean acidification. The framework aligns with the Doughnut Economics model, ensuring that basic human needs are met equitably while staying within planetary boundaries.

    Plant-Based Treaty: For a Sustainable Future

    Established in 2021 as a global campaign, the Plant Based Treaty is committed to relinquishing, redirecting, and restoring the global food system. With endorsements from cities like Amsterdam, Edinburgh, and Los Angeles, the treaty has garnered support from individuals, Nobel laureates, IPCC scientists, and numerous groups and businesses. The ultimate goal is to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture and pave the way for a more sustainable and equitable future.

    The Plant-Based Treaty’s groundbreaking report provides not only a stark assessment of the current state of our global food system but also a visionary framework for change. As the world grapples with the pressing challenges of climate change, the report serves as a rallying call for nations, organizations, and individuals to embrace a plant-based transition—a critical step towards a safer, more sustainable planet.

    Tina Olivero

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