Food For Thought on IPCC Climate Change Report

The recent important Climate Change Report (By the International Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC) emphasizes that only immediate action can avoid the worst impacts of climate change. At Indianlife, we’re proud we’ve been “sustainable before sustainable was cool.”

For example, our plant-based foods require far less water to produce than a meat-processing facility. To save energy, we leave ovens on continuously during our production week. Powering them up and down requires far more energy, and the ovens provide heat to their surrounding area which helps lower our overall energy consumption during cooler months. We’ve always also been big into recycling: Our grain discard, for example, is repurposed for animal feed.

According to the IPCC report, eliminating fossil fuels remains priority #1. But changing what’s on our plates, and how we produce it, makes a real difference. Switching to a plant-based diet is delicious, and can improve our energy and health. But it also can help fight climate change, UN experts have said. Research has shown that without meat or dairy consumption, global farmland use could potentially be reduced by more than 75%, an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined. And livestock produces nearly 60% of the greenhouse gases produced by agriculture.

Land management and diet-based solutions could provide nearly one third of the world’s needed emissions cuts, confirms the IPCC report. Agriculture, forestry and food systems solutions include agroecology: nature-friendly farming and sustainable land management. “This sector can not only provide large-scale reductions of emissions but can also remove and store CO2 at scale,” said lead author Mercedes Bustamante. “Well-designed, land-based mitigation options to remove carbon can also benefit biodiversity and ecosystems, help us adapt to climate change, secure livelihoods, improve food and water security.”

Growing crops within forests and managing livestock more sustainably, says the IPCC report, Would improve land productivity and resilience to heat or drought. Overall “nature-based” solutions — eliminating hunger and providing access to clean water, for example — were touted as critical parts of what must be done to protect communities from the worst impacts of climate change.

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