WHY WE’RE DISRUPTING THE SUPPLY OF DAIRY: THE CLIMATE CRISIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

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Right now hundreds of people just like you are acting in line with their values, driven by feelings of anxiety and hope to do something, rather than stand by and watch. 

 

They are making a sacrifice: of their time, of their liberty, and even of their positions in society. They’re risking a lot. Why would they do this? 

 

Because they want to be part of the group who stood up and made a change to the world. Because the climate and nature crisis changes everything. Because they know it is right. 

 

And because of how it feels: to act in line with your values makes people feel whole. Not divided, frustrated, anxious or hopeless. These people, right now, are integrating what they believe with how they act. To act with integrity means that your life is filled with meaningful decisions and commitments, not paralysed by frustrations and fears. 

 

You may agree or disagree with our tactics or the timing. You may not have fully taken in the overwhelming scientific fact that underpins our decisions. But you cannot tell us how we feel. Only those who act know that. 

 

CLIMATE CRISIS: THE REASON WE NEED TO CHANGE EVERYTHING

“What we do in the next 2-3 years will, I believe, determine the future of humanity.” 

– Sir David King, ex-Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government and founder of the Centre for Climate Repair

 

This summer, Europe is experiencing its biggest drought in the last 500 years. In Pakistan, one-third of the entire country is submerged by monsoon rains. Wildfires have swept across the world, including here in the UK. Decades of underinvestment in our food and water infrastructure has left us woefully unprepared to cope with the shocks, while company shareholders have become billionaires off of the profits.

 

This is just the flickering of a destabilising climate; the worst–the full fire–is yet to come.

 

The science shows that by 2040, if we continue on our current trajectory: 

  • tens of millions of people will die every year simply because it is too hot outside; 

  • over 700 million people a year will be affected by droughts;

  • island nations and coastal regions across the world will be underwater–including Scotland; 

  • regions of Africa, Middle East and the Tropics risk becoming totally uninhabitable due to the ‘wet bulb effect’, causing 40% of the world’s population to be forced to move. 

 

By 2050 it is predicted there will be between 1-3 billion climate refugees, with all the suffering and death that entails. We will face resource wars, death and suffering, and as the Australian climate scientist Will Steffen said, “civilisation collapse is the most likely outcome”.

 

WHY WE FOCUS ON CHANGING THE FOOD SYSTEM

Yes, this changes everything. But what it most changes is the dire need to reimagine our food system so it is resilient enough to survive the climate crisis that is already here.

 

According to the latest Chatham House Climate Risk Assessment, we are currently on course for a 50% chance of failure of the food production centres of the world: what we call breadbaskets, where the majority of crops are grown. This means that the major grain producing regions in the world–in America, in Asia, in Ukraine–will, by 2040, experience crop failure at the same time. This will lead to mass starvation.

 

We are already experiencing what this feels like because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is a taste of what is to come in a world riven by gas wars and fossil fuel famines.

 

In a world with 56 billion farmed land animals who eat over a third of the entire global crop, not to mention the billions of farmed fishes fed meal, it is obvious to everyone that the current animal-based food system cannot survive the climate crisis. 

 

It is a totally unsustainable system. Given a blank piece of paper, not a single politician, policy maker, or farmer, would today design a food system based on animal products. The *only* choice we have, the only truly sustainable food system on offer, is plant based.

 

THIS IS WHY WE’RE DEMANDING A PLANT BASED FUTURE

Right now, those hundreds of people taking action at dairy distribution centres and supermarkets up and down the country to stop the climate catastrophe, have two demands:

 

1. The UK Government supports farmers and fishing communities to move away from animal farming and fishing as part of an urgent and immediate transition to a plant-based food system.

2. The UK Government commits to rewild the freed-up land and ocean as part of a broader programme of wildlife restoration and carbon drawdown.

 

We are not asking the government to act on wild rumours. Our governments already know what is coming. In the run-up to COP26, then Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

 

“We will see desertification, drought, crop failure, and mass movements of humanity on a scale not seen before, not because of some unforeseen natural event or disaster but because of us, because of what we are doing now.

 

"And our grandchildren will know that we are the culprits and... that we were warned and they will know that it was this generation that came centre stage to speak and act on behalf of posterity and that we missed our cue and they will ask themselves what kind of people we were to be so selfish and so short sighted.”

 

"It's time for humanity to grow up." 

 

But our government, and governments around the world, are doing absolutely nothing to stop it. New Prime Minister Liz Truss is pledging to drill for more oil. This failure of leadership is a death sentence. It is the same failure of leadership that has led to the cost of living crisis: with politicians warned in advance, but unwilling to act.

 

As the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, speaking after the publication of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, said about our total failure to act:

 

“The jury has reached a verdict. And it is damning. This report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world.”

 

If the commitments agreed by nations at the various COPs, as is expected, are not met, then we risk 4 degrees of warming. Bear in mind, all the catastrophes we’re already seeing are taking place at only 1.2 degrees of warming. 

 

Either way, we expect to surpass key tipping points like the melting of the arctic, and dieback of Amazon and Boreal forests leading us to an exponential and uncontrollable series of feedback loops towards an uninhabitable “hothouse earth”. 

 

So what can we do? We can do what makes us feel whole: align our acts with our values.

 

PLANT BASED FUTURE AS THE KEY SOLUTION THE CLIMATE CRISIS

In 2019, for the first time in history, the world’s top climate scientists from IPCC, and the world’s foremost biodiversity scientists from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) came together to discuss what is the best thing we can do to ensure our children, loved ones, and the planet’s other inhabitants, the animals we love, have a future.

 

They wanted to find solutions that work for both climate and nature, not making one or the other worse. As both things are existential threats to our future survival.

 

The report concluded the most important thing we can do is to implement “Nature-Based Solutions”: that is, to rewild land and ocean ecosystems. 

 

This means we bring back the forests, wetlands, peatlands, natural grasslands, rivers and oceans. Allowing for wildlife to return and for foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, birdlife owls and other wonderful wildlife to flourish again. 

 

And, critically by doing this we can draw down significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as healthy flourishing ecosystems like forests can draw down significant amounts of carbon dioxide, which is absolutely crucial to prevent devastation. The opportunity for carbon drawdown is so large that we can actually absorb as much emissions as was let out by fossil fuels in the last 16 years!

 

But. They also said that the primary thing which stops us from doing this is animal farming and fishing.

 

This is what drives us this week to take action. That’s why we’re calling for an end to farming and fishing and huge government support to transition farmers away from these destructive industries. 

 

Fishing stands in the way because, as long as we are plundering trillions of marine animals out of the ocean, it destroys the ecosystem. We are heading toward fishless oceans.

 

Animal farming stands in the way, too. Animal farming is the most land-hungry industry on this planet! In the largest study ever on the relationship of farming and the environment, surveying 40,000 farms, Oxford University found that if we were to transition from animal farming we could reduce our global farmland by 76% (the size of Australia, China, Europe and America combined). 

 

A study from Harvard University showed that if we were to transition away from animal farming in the UK we could be net negative in emissions and feed the entire UK being completely food secure. 

 

This is the overwhelming scientific fact that underpins our actions. It is why we feel integrated, aligned, and whole, when we take action in the name of all the things we love: each other, nature, the planet.

 

Our imagination is simple. Anywhere there is a farm – there could be a forest.

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This is a vision for the future of humanity. A beautiful one, reclaiming and restoring nature and rewilding. Don't we all love nature? We know this is the most popular solution the people want. But it relies on the thing people find difficult to let go: their attachment to eating animal products.

 

But what do we love more? Our appetites, or a safe, secure, flourishing world to live in?

 

WHAT ABOUT FARMERS?

Farmers are really struggling, globally and in the UK. Troubles range from low wages, high debt, rising costs, extreme weather, reduced farmgate prices, poor trade deals, uncertain subsidy regimes, mental health crises.

 

Animal farming, and particularly dairy farming, are facing massive disruption. New technologies like Precision Fermentation are coming along to change things, and quickly. Very soon it is going to be cheaper, cleaner, environmentally healthier, and nutritionally better, to get meat and dairy from precision fermentation sources. It is not Beyond the Impossible, so to speak!

 

This is why our actions are calling on the government to invest in farming and fishing communities, to support them to transition away from animal farming. To provide a living wage for farmers to use their land to engage in sustainable fruit, vegetable, and grain growing on the lands they can. To rewild the freed up land, and also engage in many other sustainable land use practices like solar farming, wind farming.

We know that horticulture was ruined in the UK by poor policies. We also know we can grow more nuts, fruits, seeds, oats, and all the good things you want to eat, in this country, with much less land. Horticulture is one of the most efficient ways to produce the food we have.

 

That’s why our actions are demanding our government support our farmers by investing in them and supporting a transition so farmers can continue doing what they have always done: have pride in feeding people.

 

And that’s why our actions also include farmer outreach. Right now, people are taking action not only by sitting in roads or supermarket aisles but also touring the country speaking to farmers, creating respectful dialogue, and listening. When we say this changes everything, we mean it changes everything. The people speaking to farmers are also aligning their actions with their beliefs, and feeling whole about it.

 

SO WHY DISRUPT?

We have 3 years to determine the future of humanity. The government is corrupt, funded and lobbied by those with money and power, and is failing to act. 

 

Our democracy is broken. If we had a route to make the change without doing this, we would. But it is clear the slow, non-disruptive processes don’t work. If they did work we wouldn’t have a crumbling NHS, fossil fuel companies buying politicians’ votes, a billionaire-run media, bailed-out banks, or Iraq Wars. We can’t even run for election because we have a broken First Past The Post system which stops anything new from coming along.

 

So we disrupt because our lives are on the line. Not just those people in the supermarkets and at the dairy distribution centres. Your lives are on the line too, whether you’re acting now or not. So why not act with us? Our acts are justified. Movements of ordinary people engaging in nonviolent civil resistance are rising up! We are strictly nonviolent, trained in civil nonviolent disobedience, and willing to be arrested again and again to stop this catastrophic future from happening.

 

JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Right now hundreds of people just like you are acting in line with their values, driven by feelings of both anxieties and hope to do something, rather than stand by and watch. (By the way, feeling that anxiety is okay. In fact, it is what drives many of us to act).

 

They are making a sacrifice: of their time, their liberty, and even of their positions in society. They’re risking a lot. Why would they do this? 

 

You know why we are doing this: for a safe future. A plant-based future. 

 

This changes everything. So act in line with your values. Join us.