MANILA – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Saturday urged Filipinos to help fight climate change by switching to plant-based diet, which has been shown to reduce the ecological footprint of human food consumption.
In a press release, the DENR, through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), has launched a month-long public information drive to encourage everyone to shift away from animal-based products towards consumption of more fruits and vegetables.
The “Plant-Based Solutions for Climate Change” campaign, which coincides with the celebration of July as nutrition month, urges Filipinos to include more vegetables and fruits into their diet following the recommendation of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) on proportion by three main food groups — go, grow and glow foods.
EMB Director William Cuñado said shifting to plant-based diet is one way to greatly reduce the environmental impact of one’s food consumption.
“Switching to a plant-based diet not only benefits one’s health, it can also help protect the environment due to the smaller environmental footprints plant-based diets tend to have,” Cuñado said.
According to a 2013 study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, meat and dairy — particularly from cows — account for around 14.5 percent of the global greenhouse gases each year.
That’s roughly the same amount as emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships in the world combined.
A recent study by the University of Oxford suggested that cutting meat and dairy products from a person’s diet could reduce his carbon footprint from food by up to 73 percent.
Cuñado said a plant-based diet could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and land used for factory farming, which are all factors in global warming and environmental degradation.
“By gradually modifying our meals and shifting to balanced diets with more plant-based food, we have already taken part in reducing greenhouse gases, which in turn will help slow down the rise in global temperatures,” Cuñado said.
The month-long campaign is being done virtually or online given the restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The EMB has been regularly posting infographics about plant-based diet as a climate change solution on its official Facebook page to make it easier for people to understand and follow the concept.
It also launched an online food photo contest called #UOTD or Ulam of the Day, where participants can send photos of their meal based on Pinggang Pinoy food guide developed by FNRI.
Pinggang Pinoy is an easy-to-understand food guide that uses a familiar food plate model to convey the right food group proportions on a per meal basis. This aims to help Filipinos acquire healthy eating habits needed to attain optimum nutrition.
The EMB started receiving entries for the #UOTD on July 4 through its email address email@example.com.
The photo contest will run until July 20.
Further details about the contest are posted on the Facebook page of EMB Central Office.