1st November 2021

Australasian Leaders Challenged to Go Vegan for COP26

As the world’s latest round of climate talks, COP26, begins, having been postponed last year due to Covid, the seriousness of the climate crisis ramps up. National charities Vegan Australasia and Vegan Society of New Zealand Te Rōpū Whēkana o Aotearoa, have challenged their respective Prime Ministers to go vegan to help fight the climate crisis. Australian PM Scott Morrison has been asked to take the 30 day Vegan Easy Challenge, whilst New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern was given the 21 Day Easy Vegan Challenge, available from the respective Vegan Societies.

Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent. It is the single biggest impact an individual can have on their own greenhouse emissions. Whilst the 190 countries represented at the COP talks may not agree to actions at the governmental level, each person can make this individual choice and do their part to help mitigate climate change.

In addition the Vegan Society of New Zealand Te Rōpū Whēkana o Aotearoa, would like to challenge the entire country to try vegan for 21 days, in support of the Prime Minister, the COP26 talks and the future sustainability of the planet.

Open Letter to Jacinda Ardern

Dear Jacinda,

The Vegan Society of New Zealand Te Rōpū Whēkana o Aotearoa has an important ask of you as our leader, to show Kiwis how easy it is to reduce their carbon footprint with every bite they eat. In the light of the COP26 talks taking place now, we are asking you to try the 21 Day Easy Vegan Challenge to support the research that proves that eating plant-based is key to mitigating climate change. New Zealand’s emissions are amongst the highest per capita, with virtually half of them due to agriculture. Changing what we eat is a very effective way of reducing our personal contributions and as farmers respond to changing demands, diversifying and growing more plants will help reduce the country’s emissions.

We are not expecting you to go vegan for the rest of your life, but if everyone reduced the amount of animal products they ate, the global methane levels would drop quickly, as long as we also lower our carbon emissions too, and act this year, not at some vague point in the future, the opportunity to mitigate climate change and keep global warming to less than 2ºC remains. The last ice age occurred when the planet was just 3 degrees colder, so if we break too much past 2 degrees we will turn Earth to a dust bowl, please watch the film “Dune” due to be released in December, to see how that would look. Deserts are already encroaching, we can turn this around by using our resources more sustainably, growing plants to feed humans, rather than to feed animals.

You have asked a lot of the people of this country to help deal with the Covid crisis, we would suggest that climate change is an even greater threat to humanity’s survival than Covid. It is going to be a lot easier to change what we eat today, than to find another planet to live on in 10 years time. Action has been needed for the last 30 years and more, with the problems of climate change known for over a century. Yet, still humanity persists in destructive practices. Your daughter needs you to help turn that around.

New Zealand is woefully behind meeting its Paris Agreement and is one of the poorest performers in the OECD with the latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory showing another rise in emissions. Taking up the Vegan Challenge would send a strong message that you are willing to do your part in mitigating climate change. We want to support our farmers to continue to profit in these difficult times, through diversifying and growing more plants to supply the plant-based food markets, which are growing ever bigger. How will you explain to your daughter and other Kiwi kids that we destroyed their environment because we kept on farming meat and dairy long after we should have stopped?

The current inaction on climate change has to stop. It will require global cooperation, with businesses, governments, large corporations and individuals all doing their part. Change is possible, it starts here today. Sign up to the Easy Vegan Challenge at www.tryvegan.org.nz where you can receive support and mentoring from our Challenge Facebook mentor group, as well as daily emails full of tips, recipes, shopping ideas and more. The new intake starts on 1st November, celebrating World Vegan Day, so why not join up and try it for yourself?

Open Letter to Scott Morrison

Dear Prime Minister,

As you know, animal agriculture is one of the most damaging sources of greenhouse gas emissions and causes of deforestation.

We are pleased to see that you will be attending the COP26 climate conference commencing this Sunday. An international event of this significance will be a fantastic opportunity for you to show not only your government’s, but your personal commitment to creating a better world for current and future generations.

COP26 has announced that plant-based dishes will dominate the menu for the event. The carbon footprint for each menu item will also be displayed. We encourage you to make climate-friendly choices by opting for plant-based meals while at the conference.

We also urge you to continue to maintain a plant-based lifestyle throughout November by joining the free Vegan Easy 30 Day Challenge for World Vegan Month. Visit www.veganeasy.org/challenge to sign up to receive helpful resources, support and dietitian-approved advice to guide you to a compassionate, environmentally-friendly and healthful way of life. You could even ask your family to join you. Taking up a new habit can be easier when the whole family tries it together.

It’s not too late to inform your airline of your updated catering requirements to enjoy a more climate-friendly flight to Glasgow. Will you commit to joining the multitude of other participants on the Vegan Easy November Challenge?

Will you accept our invitation and be part of the solution by fighting climate change with diet change?