Jacinda urged to go vegan
29th October 2021
PM Challenged to Go Vegan for the Planet

In an email sent to Jacinda Ardern yesterday, the Vegan Society of New Zealand Te Rōpū Whēkana o Aotearoa challenged our Prime Minister to go vegan to help fix the climate crisis. As the climate talks COP26 begin in Glasgow, time is running out for the planet and the future of humanity. Research shows that what we eat has a huge impact on our planet and this year’s COP catering will have plant-based options and a footprint counter will show the carbon equivalent impact of meals offered, encouraging delegates to make a low carbon choice.

OPEN LETTER

“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?”