In order to avoid runaway climate change, industrialized countries have agreed to a 2050 goal of a 90% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to pre-industrial levels.
Toward this end, scientists are emphasizing the need for behavioral, rather than technological, approaches for faster results. This is especially true in the area of food.
Multiple studies have suggested that reducing or eliminating meat consumption would be more cost effective and quicker in reducing greenhouse gas emissions than attempting to develop technologies to capture the large-scale emissions involved in meat production.
Dr. Juha-Matti Katajajuuri, senior researcher at MTT Agrifood Research Finland, evaluated the climate impacts of various typical Finnish meals, ranging from meat-based to vegan.
He found that vegetarian main courses had a 50-60% smaller climate impact compared to their meat-based counterparts. Dr. Katajajuuri also highlighted the likelihood of obtaining more immediate results from a behavioral approach.
Dr. Juha-Matti Katajajuuri – Senior researcher, MTT Agrifood Research Finland (M): It is a lot more challenging to find easy and new technological solutions by which we can reduce the environmental effects of food production.
VOICE: Industrial ecologist and climate scientist Dr. Peter Tom Jones of the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, agreed, saying that personal human action rather than technical change is the key for greener food consumption.
Dr. Peter Tom Jones – Industrial ecologist and author, Vegetarian (M): This entails: more local chains, more organic food, less dependence on oil.
In that manner you can drastically reduce the environmental impact of the production issue.
But then a second essential component of the reduction in the food sector has to do with our meat and fish consumption.
VOICE: Dr. Jones, a vegetarian himself, stated that if governments encouraged the consumption and production of organic vegan foods, the international reducing of emissions by 90% would be attainable, with added health benefits.
Peter Tom Jones, PhD (M): We can easily go to a reduction of 90% if associated with the agro-ecological food model, with even much healthier nutrition.
So there would be less nutritional disease, less cardiac and blood vessel disease, less diabetes, less obesity, etc.
VOICE: Our sincere appreciation, Dr. Katajajuuri, Dr. Jones and associates for your research in the crucial area of food production emissions.
May all governments and co-citizens start now to eliminate costly animal products and switch to organic plant-based fare to halt climate change. Supreme Master Ching Hai has often emphasized the priority of dietary change needed to save the planet, as during a September 2009 videoconference in South Korea.