October 21, 2021
This was the topic of discussion during the 19th episode of The Climate Reality Project Philippines’ Klimatotohanan episode entitled “Healthy People, Healthy Planet: What Does Food Have to Do with the Climate Crisis?”
Castillo, a vegan and initiator of several online communities on veganism, underscored the need for a global shift towards a more plant-based diet to help curb emissions and to maximize the health and the environmental benefits of easing out meat from the daily diet.
“Meat is a powerful driver of climate change,” Castillo said. “Meat production produces—in the most conservative studies—more GHG than all transport sector combined,” he added.
Castillo also noted that even the lowest-impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least-sustainable vegetable and cereal growing that directly feeds people.
“If the world changed its diet and went completely vegan, emissions would drop by 7.8 GT,” she said.
Patronizing local foods and food mapping
Chef Jam Melchor, Founder of Slow Food Youth Network Philippines, supported Castillo’s call for transforming food systems, underscoring the need to utilize heirloom indigenous agricultural products that are grown and sourced within the country.
In line with this, Melchor shared that his group has been pushing Congress to provide local government units funds for food mapping, which includes creating an inventory of heirloom dishes, food produce, and gastronomic cultural bearers.
Adding that food mapping also helps in calamities by providing data on where we can source food, Melchor said that their group has already finished food mapping in Cordillera, Pampanga, and Bulacan and is currently implementing the initiative in the Negros area.
“Mindfulness is the key. Always. Patronizing local foods that have been produced ethically and sustainably makes a difference to people’s livelihoods, to the environment, and economies,” Melchor said.
Melody Melo-Rjik, Project Manager of WWF Philippines’ The Sustainable Diner Project, agreed with Melchor. She noted the abundance of heirloom indigenous agricultural products in the countries.
“Why is it important to promote and use them? Number one, it’s easy to grow them since they’ve been growing here ever since. Second, it lessens our imports when it comes to the vegetables we need. Third, they are very climate-resilient. They can survive the impacts of climate change,” Melo-Rjik explained.