Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
Agriculture expert Teodoro Mendoza, professor at the University of the Philippines – Los Baños is pushing for lesser meat consumption and more organic farming as a way to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Mendoza explained that decreasing meat consumption contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. “The increase in population leads to increase in consumption of energy and industrialized food systems. As a result, food production has become a major source of GHG emission,” he said.
“Reduction of animal-based food products would help decrease GHG emissions because processes like animal feeds production and logistics done in animal or meat production from farm to consumer-table emit significant amount of GHG,” he added.
Finding ways to mitigate the effects of climate change is critical for Filipinos as the Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to its effects. Farmers and the agriculture sector who have been feeling the impact of stronger storms and longer droughts that can be blamed on climate change are all too familiar with that need.
Interestingly, around 44 to 57 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and food-related production while only around 18 percent come from vehicles and the transport industry. In order to reduce GHG emissions in the agriculture sector, one option is to shift to organic agriculture that has lower energy output compared to conventional methods of farming.
Additionally, using renewable energy for agriculture and rice production can also help offset the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law when farmers shift to alternative sources of fuel such as biomass and wind energy or even the production of ethanol.
For Filipinos to cope with the effects of climate change and TRAIN, lifestyles will have to change. Consuming less meat makes sense because of the impact of livestock farming and meat production on the environment. Choosing organic products that depend less on fossil fuels and imported inputs for production will also provide us with cheaper, healthier food and at the same time help reduce our carbon footprint.
It is about time we started being more conscious of the food we consume. Aside from considering the cost, we should be aware of its impact on our health and the environment as well.*