Climate Change – do you care enough?
COP 27 is hitting the headlines as world leaders are currently coming together with the shared goal of limiting global warming. Images from the summit in Egypt sit alongside images of climate change protesters on motorway gantries – whose actions cause huge disruption to daily life. Whilst I don’t condone the activist’s behaviour, I do applaud their commitment to raise awareness about the very real risks and damage caused to our world by climate change.
What’s happening at COP27 and why?
COP27 is the latest instalment of the annual United Nations global climate summit that has been taking place in Egypt over the course of ten days, welcoming world leaders and delegates from across the world. Climate change was something quite intangible that the ‘green brigade’ talked about a decade ago but, thankfully, is now very much at the forefront of global politics and something we are all witnessing. Heatwave summers, warm winters, bush fires and of course the horrific flooding in Pakistan are all as a result of climate change. Science has established beyond doubt, that the window for action is closing rapidly, meaning that climate change it now a very real issue affecting us all.
Whose responsibility is it to tackle climate change?
I believe that awareness surrounding climate change is improving as a result of international conferences such as COP27 and thanks, (if that is the right word), to climate protesters affecting our daily lives. However, in reality, we are too disconnected from the impact of our everyday actions on the planet. It is easy to sit back and think that officials, governments and powers-that-be are taking control of climate change but this couldn’t be further from the truth. COP27 is vital in raising awareness and addressing global concerns but it is our individual actions that makes the ultimate difference. We cannot defer or delegate our responsibility to others.
Food systems under the spotlight at COP27
I was thrilled to see that this year’s COP included a number of pavilions discussing food systems and climate change. This is the first time that the COP has addressed farm animal factory farming, food security and regeneration agriculture. Factory farming is one of the major contributors to climate change, as vast quantities of carbon dioxide and methane is released through the practice. We have recently witnessed a profound impact on the food supply chain due to the swine flu epidemic in China and bird flu in the UK as animal disease control is struggling to maintain standards. In an attempt to combat animal diseases and satisfy the demand for greater meat and animal product consumption, the factory farming industry is now resorting to more extreme methods to keep greater numbers of animals in unnatural environments. For example, in 2019 China created the first multistorey pig farm with 26 floors and now more than 176 multistorey farms have been built since the start of 2022. During COP27 many NGOs and business called for the urgent transformation of our food system.
What can YOU do to help?
So how can we – as individuals and consumers – help to stop climate change? The world’s population is 8 billion and is projected to hit 9 billion by 2048. The earth’s resources are not endless so we need to be wise with what we have.
As individuals we can:
- Buy better and buy less
- Reduce our meat consumption
- Reduce our plastic use
- Save energy at home
- Walk or cycle where possible
- Take fewer flights
- Try switching to energy to renewable resources (solar)
- Switch to an electric vehicle
At ACTAsia we are championing climate change through a range of initiatives
ACTAsia recently launched our Plant Forward campaign to promote plant-based diets. As a consumer we must truly recognise that the food we eat on our plate could have contributed to climate change. Plant Forward is the first event of its kind, and the aim is to increase understanding of plant-based eating and to explain why plants are a vital part of a sustainable future. A meat-based diet has a huge impact on the environment in terms of CO2 emissions and environmental impact. By encouraging more people to adopt a plant-based diet now it can make a huge difference to the future of climate change.
ACTAsia has introduced a climate change module into our Caring for Life education for children. ACTAsia knows that education is key to positive change and our lessons are introducing new generations to the very real dangers of climate change and what they can do to help. ACTAsia’s award winning CFL children’s education programme is a unique six-year curriculum for all primary school years. It encompasses social welfare and citizenship, animal welfare, and environmental issues and it recognises the interdependence of all living things. As part of the curriculum at our Pioneer Schools, we invite children to consider the issues attached to animal farming and the impact it has on the planet. By educating children through our CFL programme now, we are equipping them with the knowledge, and therefore power, to make compassionate choices for the planet and their health for generations to come.
ACTAsia has established a Compassionate Choices Network with organisations in five Asian countries bringing together a coalition of advocates to reduce animal consumption and promote plant-based diets and sustainable lifestyles. Our goal is to increase recognition, interest and acceptance of sustainable plant-based diets and reduce meat consumption. Working collectively has tremendous benefits of scale. In creating the CCN we hope to create long lasting behaviour change across the region.
ACTAsia educates consumers and professionals about the impact of fur on the environment and how fur production is a major contributor towards climate change. The feed and keeping of the fur farmed animals are the two important contributing factors to climate change. Producing feed for the millions of animals kept for fur comes with a severe ecological footprint. By stopping the use of fur, retailers and consumers will be directly aiding the planet.
ACTAsia has introduced a pioneering professional education course for fashion students and professionals. The Sustainability and the Global Fur Trade course has 12 guided learning hours and covers the impact of fur in fashion on animals, people and the environment. ACTAsia is the first NGO to create a fashion course focusing on fur free that is globally accessible, making it a major milestone in fur free education.
ACTAsia is committed to combatting climate change through our education programmes for children, consumers and professionals. I strongly believe that if we all make it our personal responsibility to act now and make a difference to our daily habits then together, we can help to stop climate change and the irreversible damage to the planet.