March Supports Vegetarianism as Climate Solution
19 May 2008
March Proclaiming Vegetarianism as a Solution to Climate Change
People from all walks of life will be joining together to march through Wellington City Centre on Saturday 31 May with one united message: “Be Green, Go Veggie and Save the Planet.” Earth Walk, birthed by a group of vegans, has attracted interest from different corners of New Zealand, including the Hutt Valley, Taranaki, Hamilton, Nelson, Golden Bay, even as far as Christchurch and Auckland. Earth Walk’s mission is to alert people that a plant-based diet is crucial if we want to avert catastrophic climate change.
Organisations supporting Earth Walk, include the NZ Vegetarian Society, Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE), along with other organisations and individuals. In a letter addressed to Prime Minister, Helen Clark, the Government is being asked to place a high priority on promoting a plant-based diet and educating New Zealanders about the link between diet and climate change.
The link, they say, is clearly documented in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s report, ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow’, where animal agriculture is cited as producing more Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGEs) than the entire transport sector globally, amounting to almost one fifth of the planet’s emissions. In NZ the agriculture sector is the biggest producer of GGEs - a staggering 49.2%.
Earth Walk highlights a solution and encourages people to find out for themselves the detrimental effects of eating meat on the environment. Vegetarianism is just one of a few simple solutions with a huge impact, they say, and yet, the majority of people are unaware how much they can help reduce GGEs just by adopting a plant-based diet, both on an individual and global level.
Hans Kriek, Campaign Director of SAFE adds: “The impact of eating meat on our environment, our health and the animals is the single most important issue facing our planet today. With our natural resources running out and our planet heating up, the adoption of a vegetarian life style is the only way forward.”
Five days before World Environment Day, which is being hosted by New Zealand this year, Earth Walk’s message has a call for urgency which has had very little exposure so far. A spokesperson for Earth Walk put it this way: “The unprecedented Arctic ice melt in 2007 has put a very different angle on Climate Change. Not only are we at risk of more frequent and more severe weather changes, but scientists are now talking about the enormous amounts of methane gas on the ocean seabed which will be released as the oceans get warmer. The huge quantities of the gas, an estimated 400 gigatons, if released, would seal all our fates.”
Earth Walk participants will ensure their message is loud and clear. Displaying placards such as “Green Your Life, Green Your Diet, Save The Earth”, the 1.5 hour march culminates at the Beehive where the letter to the Prime Minister will be submitted.
A spokesperson for the small group of vegans who planned Earth Walk said: “Many of our greatest thinkers, philosophers and scientists were vegetarians, including Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Rudolph Steiner and Leonardo Da Vinci. We have Olympic gold medallists such as Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses, tennis champions such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, many actors and celebrities who all enjoy the benefits of a plant-based diet. We hope that Earth Walk will be a wake-up call and an inspiration to others in NZ and around the world to adopt a vegetarian diet for their health, for the future of the children and for preserving our Planet Earth.”