Cut out red meat to pause climate for 25 years and profoundly benefit 7 SDGs by Hit Pause on Climate
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The environmental benefits of reducing the amount of land given over to sustaining meat production are undeniable and have been well known for decades. I am myself a vegetarian, largely for this reason. There appears to be nothing particularly novel in this proposal. There are also some well known substantial risks to this line of reasoning on climate change solutions, that are not mentioned. One is that proponents of vegetarianism often ignore the other 'obvious' elements of solutions: reducing human population is an obvious way to not only reduce total reduce red meat consumption but all other environmental impacts as well. Another possible unintended consequence of this type of action is that by focusing attention on going vegetarian (the 25 year pause is highly debatable anyway) we risk distracting attention from the real fundamental problem for climate change, which is fossil fuel burning. It is unclear from reading the proposal, how spending 5 million dollars on the actions proposed would lead to any substantial decrease in red meat consumption (particularly given the strong upward trend currently in place, particularly in developing countries)
I would like more discussion on how to actually produce change, by identifying non-climate related partners, especially public health. More thinking about campaigns to stop-smoking and anti-obesity would be useful.
Certainly managing the over-production and over-consumption of meat is an important challenge. The proposers recognize that many actors contribute to the meat industry. They offer a multifaceted approach including changing GHG accounting methods and a public relations campaign. However, I am not convinced that this competition is the right place to propose a new NGO with a large budget.
Judge 1: Excellent proposal and addressing synergistic aspects of a global problem. falls short on how exactly the prevailing cultures of red-meat consumption, the vast, profit-driven, capitalism -driven industrial stock farming sector, the growing global middle-class and their desire to eat red-meat, etc, etc could be addressed. This needs some work to be wholly convincing, but is definitely a potential global game-changer.
Judge 2: Many thanks for this very interesting proposal- I especially appreciated your link to the UN policy and technical policy because this has more than just impact on red meat production, but could indeed "add much-needed simplification and transparency to greenhouse accounting" in general and I encourage the contestants to build on the further implications that these actions could have for climate change mitigation (and other SDGs). The biggest concern that I have, which is acknowledged by the contestants, is the need to understand ruminant production within broader systems and the potential implication of such a widespread change on how many communities around the world live. As the contestants note, it is necessary to separate large-scale commercial and subsistence agriculture (for livelihood and health reasons as well as cultural reasons- cows are an important currency in many African societies and the bridal price is still negotiated in terms of cows in southern Africa). There are thus important systemic (and therefore SDG implications) to the complete removal of ruminants from a socio-cultural system and these need to be addressed. Furthermore, there are important ecological roles that ruminants play in maintaining some grassland and semi-arid ecosystems and removing livestock- some of which is actually wildlife like antelope, not just cows- could have ecological implications. The contestants could maybe explore innovative ways of maintaining the 'good' ruminants (and increasing dietary diversity for improved health) and creating markets for meat that is sustainably produced from landscapes where it should be (i.e. never feedlots) and that can meet the nutritional needs of many food insecure people and also maintain bio-cultural systems. At the same time, targeting the proposal to those countries specified is useful in creating a global impetus to break down the highly damaging large-scale, intensive ruminant production that is neither good for humans, animals or the environment. Overall, I therefore really liked the proposal, but ask the contestants to provide more nuance to their suggestions for the next round.
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