Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett says that while tomorrow night’s Earth Hour is a welcome initiative, we could all make a bigger and more immediate difference by going without meat or dairy products for a day.
"Overall greenhouse emissions from livestock are greater than that from all forms of transport put together, yet the significant impact we can make from the simple action of changing our diets is still rarely talked about," Senator Bartlett said.
"Earth Hour is a worthwhile way to raise awareness about the urgent need to significantly cut greenhouse emissions, but the lasting impact comes from permanent changes to our lifestyles which will make a meaningful difference to reducing greenhouse emissions."
"There is no easier, cheaper and more immediate thing we can do to significantly reduce our personal contribution to greenhouse emissions than to cut the amount of meat and dairy products that we consume.
"It is something which has clearly verified health and environmental benefits that we can do straight away, rather than have to wait for new technology, better public transport services or renewable energy options to be provided, it saves money rather than costs it and it doesn’t cause any ongoing harm to our economy.
"We can’t keep kidding ourselves that major climate change can be prevented while we maintain our existing lifestyles. There needs to be actions from governments and widespread adoption of lower energy technologies, but we also need to change our individual behaviours in substantial ways.
"We can’t afford to keep sitting back and waiting for governments, technology or markets to fix things on their own. Consumers will drive change far more quickly than governments or business.
"Earth Hour is about reminding ourselves that small changes can make big improvements on the environment but it must only be a first step.
"The whole world doesn’t have to go vegetarian or vegan tomorrow to save the planet from climate change, but we also have to acknowledge the scientific facts that if we don’t substantially cut back on the consumption of animal products, our chances of stopping major climate change are almost nil," Senator Bartlett concluded.