The United Nations is running what it describes as ‘the largest ever global conversation on building the future we want’.
To mark its 75th anniversary, it has launched a survey asking the public how it can improve the world by 2045.
The survey includes three main questions, all of which have multiple choice answers:
- ‘What should the international community prioritize to recover better from the pandemic?’.
- Participants can select three answers, one being ‘tackle the climate crisis with greater urgency’.
2. ‘Taking a longer view, if you picture the world you want in 25 years, what three things would you most want to see?‘
- Possible answers include ‘more sustainable consumption and production’ and ‘more environmental protection’.
3. ‘Which of these global trends do you think will most affect our future?‘
- Answers to this include ‘climate change and environmental issues’ and ‘risks related to health (e.g pandemics)’.
At the end of the survey, the UN asks how it can address these global trends, providing participants with a 140 character answer box. This is where you can urge the UN to promote plant-based living.
Why promote plant-based?
Earlier this year, research from an international team led by the University of Oxford found slashing our use of fossil fuel use is essential to meet global climate targets. But is not enough unless we also transform the global food system.
In fact, scientists say, even if fossil fuel emissions stop immediately, emissions from the global food system alone could increase global temperatures by more than 1.5°C.
The Paris Climate Agreement goal is to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C or 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Global temperature increases beyond this will lead to extreme heatwaves, flooding, water scarcity, and more.
Dr. Michael Clark is from The Oxford Martin School and Nuffield Department of Population Health. In a statement sent to Plant Based News, he said: “Discussions on mitigating climate change typically focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, for instance, from transportation or energy production.
“However, our research emphasizes the importance of reducing emissions from the global food system… The most important is for individuals to shift towards predominantly plant-based diets.”
In terms of public health, promoting a plant-based diet may also slash the risk of the next pandemic, according to many reports.
The Food & Pandemics Report, produced by ProVeg International, calls for ‘urgent changes to the global food system in order to prevent future outbreaks’. It has drawn support from inside the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
The report presents the connection between our dietary choices and the global food system, and zoonoses like COVID-19 – i.e. diseases which are transmitted from non-human animals to humans, which make up about 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases.
It reveals the three ways our diet and food system drive zoonotic diseases through the destruction of animals’ natural habitats and loss of biodiversity, driven largely by animal agriculture, through the use of wild animals as food, and through the use of farmed animals as food in intensified animal agriculture.
The report notes that ‘although the origins of such outbreaks tend to be associated with wild animals, as is assumed with COVID-19, pathogens also jump from wild animals to farmed animals before being transmitted to humans – as was the case with recent pandemic threats such as avian flu and swine flu’.
You can take the survey here