venerdì 28 dicembre 2018

Roundtable: should we be practicing and promoting veganism?

Should we be practicing and promoting veganism?

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What are we discussing today?

SDG Target 13.3 (Build Knowledge and Capacity to Meet Climate Change)
Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning..
Today we’re going to be discussing the relationship between meat/dairy consumption and climate change.

 Discussion guide by Parlay

Why is it important/relevant?

In previous decades, debates about the existence of climate change have been common. Now, armed with undeniable statistics, the scientific community is united around the facts: the climate is changing, humans are causing it, and the effects are already devastating.
If current trends continue, ocean levels will continue to rise as the world’s ice melts. Millions will become migrants as their homelands flood. Rainstorms and hurricanes will continue to intensify. Droughts and wildfires will become even more severe, leaving countless millions unable to feed themselves. Conflicts over resources will increase. Even worse -- scientists warn of a “tipping point” when ancient methane, long trapped beneath Earth’s permafrost, starts entering the atmosphere at an unstoppable rate. If this happens, even a humanity that emits zero CO2 globally won’t be able to halt the warming.
The Paris Agreement -- an international treaty to combat climate change which includes all nations except the United States -- came into effect in November of 2016. It aims to avoid the worst case scenarios by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages. (We already passed 1.0 degrees Celsius in 2016 and, at current rates of carbon dioxide emissions, we would “bake in” 2.0 degrees of warming in less than twenty years.)
We know that we need to rapidly shift our energy consumption habits away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable technologies such as wind and solar. When asked, the vast majority of people guess “transportation” as the top contributor to climate change. The vast majority of people are wrong.
Animal agriculture contributes more to climate change than all transportation emissions combined. How is this possible? For the answers, you will need to dive into the content below and, hopefully, some research of your own. And after considering all of the facts, one big question will remain: should we all be practicing and promoting veganism?
(Note: vegans are not the same as vegetarians. The latter still consume products that come from animals, such as milk and cheese.)

Content & Multimedia

First, let’s read/watch these resources:
1. The targets for SDG 13: Climate Action Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
2. If you have a Netflix account or You Tube and a couple of hours to spare, we recommend the documentary Cowspiracy as a great place to start your research.

3. What if the World went Vegetarian?  -- a four minute video from AsapSCIENCE.
4. Livestock Create a Major Methane Problem  -- short video from Discovery.
5. Veganism is Not the Key to Sustainable Development -- an opinion piece published in The Guardian.
6. The Diet that Helps Fight Climate Change -- a six minute video from Vox.
7. Documento della Società Italiana di Nutrizione Umana sulla
    Dieta Vegetariana:

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you feel like you have a moral responsibility to contribute to the fight against climate change? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think that those who are part of this fight should be practicing and promoting a vegan diet? If not, are there other dietary changes that you would recommend or incorporate into your own life?
If this subject really interests you, please feel free to do some additional research and include it in your submission. Don’t worry about being “right”. The point of this discussion is to explore these ideas together.

Peer Feedback

After submitting your response, read at least two of your classmates’ responses and post a reply. Did they change your perspective in any way? Do you disagree? Why or why not? Can you add to their ideas?
(you can edit before inviting students)
Author: Ada
Subject Area: Government & Politics,  Sustainable Development Goals,  World Issues
Level: Advanced,  Introductory
Instructional Notes: Length of activity: 3 days (5 if you watch Cowspiracy)

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