With the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP26) nearing, more than 50 NGOs worldwide are calling for the summit event to offer a plant-based menu. The COP26 will emphasize the importance of changing the current food system in order to promote sustainability and better combat the climate crisis The NGO coalition is urging the summit’s president MP Alok Sharma to remove meat and dairy from the event altogether.

“Addressing these urgent areas in the COP26 meeting would help propel governments around the world to take action. And, would provide world leaders with another high impact option to add to their toolbox for tackling climate change,” the letter states.

The UN’s IPCC report on the climate crisis propelled animal agriculture to the forefront of climate discussions. By recognizing the severe impact of animal-based food production, world leaders globally have been tasked with reducing carbon emissions and developing more sustainable solutions. The calls for the COP26 summit resound in the same manner, claiming that action should be taken at the UN event. Some of the organizations petitioning the summit leader include Animal Equality, ProVEG International, the RSPCA, Humane Society International, and World Animal Protection.

“Working with farmers to support and catalyze a shift towards more plant-centric food production and consumption is a proactive step. That must be taken to future-proof global food and agricultural industries,” the letter continues. “We call on the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change (UNFCCC) to formally and publicly recognize the role of animal agriculture as one of the largest contributors of climate change. And, to open a greater space for dialogue.”

When discussing climate change, plant-based diets and food alternatives have become one of the leading methods to combat emissions and waste. A Good Food Institute report from 2019 found that plant-based meat production causes a median savings of 88 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than the current animal agriculture industry. The same report went further to highlight that plant-based meat uses 93 percent less land and 95 percent less water than animal-based food production.

Another report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Project Drawdown found that if 50 to 75 percent of the world’s population reduced meat consumption and retained a 2,250 calories per day diet, it would save between 43 to 68 gigatons of greenhouse gases. Plant-based diets will give humanity a chance to curb the rapidly worsening climate crisis.

“The science is clear that reducing global livestock numbers could contribute up to one-fifth of the mitigation needed to meet the Paris below 2°C target,” the letter states.

Other cosigners include Vegenuary, The Vegan Society, Farm Sanctuary, and Compassion in World Farming. The organizations together hope to highlight the dangers of animal-based food production, using the UN summit’s menu as a broadcasting point. In light of the worsening environmental conditions, the organizations believe the COP26 must remove animal products from its climate change event.

“If we are serious about avoiding climate catastrophe, world leaders must acknowledge the science,” Humane Society International Vice President for Farm Animal Welfare Julie Janovsky said to Plant Based News. “And, implement strategies to change our global food system to one that significantly reduces industrial animal agriculture. Reducing the number of animals raised and slaughtered is a legitimate and essential component of tackling climate change. Ignoring the immense climate impact of industrial animal farming is no longer an option. And, the COP26 climate change conference offers a vital opportunity for world leaders to take action.”

With human activity and more specifically animal agriculture found to be at the center of climate change, the organization believes it is necessary for a world leader to take responsibility. Other coalitions including the Plant Based Treaty–an extension of the Paris Agreement–believe sustainable food production and sourcing should be the leading topic in climate crisis solutions, building a healthier planet with a more sustainable food system.

How to Get Enough Iron When You’re Following a Plant-Based Diet

You may think iron is synonymous with meat, and while animal protein certainly has it, that doesn’t mean you can’t get enough iron if you eat a mainly plant-based diet. In fact, you can, if you know the right foods to choose and how to pair them. The daily recommendation from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for iron intake is 18 milligrams (mg), but not all iron sources are created equal. Here’s what plant-based eaters need to know about iron and which iron-rich foods are best to help reap the benefits.

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