Following the United Nations report on climate, environmental concerns are in the international spotlight as time seems to be running thin. With climate change-related consequences becoming increasingly visible, international policies including the Paris Agreement – the internationally recognized climate change effort that enlists nearly 200 countries to reduce emissions – have become more essential to the campaign against the rapidly worsening climate crisis. Recently, another initiative entitled The Plant Based Treaty launched to direct the Paris Agreement towards the food sector, aiming to reduce the human impact on the environment by restructuring the global food systems.

“As a companion to the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement, The Plant Based Treaty initiative is a grassroots campaign designed to put food systems at the forefront of combating the climate crisis. Modeled on the popular Fossil Fuel Treaty, the Plant-Based Treaty aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture and to promote a shift to healthier, sustainable plant-based diets,” the campaign’s website states. “We are urging scientists, individuals, groups, businesses, and cities to endorse this call to action and put pressure on national governments to negotiate an international Plant Based Treaty.”

The Plant Based Treaty proposes changing the international food systems so that countries across the globe could rapidly reduce the excessive carbon emissions harming the planet. The organization takes aim at animal agriculture, citing the industry is responsible for a devastating level of carbon and methane emissions. The proposal highlights the damages that animal agriculture has had such as land degradation, water, and air pollution, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, ocean dead zone, and most centrally greenhouse gas emissions.

The campaign details its concerns through three core demands: relinquish, redirect, and restore. The extension of the Paris Agreement sets forth an explanation of how changing the food production sector could revitalize the environment and reverse the current climate crisis.

Relinquish, Redirect, Restore

This tenet focuses on eliminating the problem before anything else can be done. The organization believes that in order to make progress, the food production sector must cease all land usage for animal agriculture. The proposal essentially demands that animal agriculture be disbanded to allow another form of food production to take its place.

The Redirect demand promotes the institution of a plant-based centric food system. This is the active step of redesigning the food supply chain to enhance its sustainability nationwide. By creating a plant-based food system, the campaign believes that carbon emissions will rapidly decline and the negative environmental impacts from animal agriculture can be undercut. This principle aims to put food security, hunger, and poverty at the forefront, explaining that plant-based food is not only more sustainable, but also a more accessible method of providing people with nutritional foods.

The final demand from the organization is to fund and support active healing initiatives to reverse the damage onset by animal agriculture. This pillar aims to nurture a damaged environment, focusing on the deforested lands, polluted oceans, and innumerable disrupted ecosystems. The plan also extends to a community level, claiming that governments need to work to provide nutritional food to areas impact by food deserts, low-income, and other injustices.

Urgently Responding to the Climate Crisis

The Plant Based Treaty will act as a direct response to the UN’s IPCC report that highlighted the importance of cutting carbon emission and helping reforest lands. The UN predicted that global temperature could reach 1.5C a decade early, and currently, there’s not enough progress to prevent that danger.

“This report makes it clear that rapid, strong, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gases are needed now. We cannot wait two, five, or ten years. It has to be done now,” Director of communications at Plant Based Treaty Nicola Harris said in response to the 2021 UN IPCC report. “We need to transform to a plant-based food system as a matter of urgency if we are to reduce methane to safe levels and slow global warming.”

The Plant-Based Treaty will launch on August 31 in front of city halls of more than 50 cities worldwide. For more information on the day of the launch, see here. Leaders of the organization will rally to promote the three demands, and hopefully, inspire governments to rethink the food systems to heal a rapidly deteriorating environment.

“While carbon dioxide is the dominant gas, stronger reductions in methane are critical. The Plant Based Treaty (along with the Fossil Fuel Nonproliferation Treaty) provides a logical pathway to the solutions needed now,” Campaign coordinator for the Plant Based Treaty Anita Krajnc said.

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