As a part of New Zealand’s curriculum to educate children about the bane of climate change, schools in the country are now encouraging them to avoid meat and dairy off the plates more aggresively each week.
The new curriculum, meant for the nation’s secondary graders is based on agricultural research from leading science agencies that suggest the impact of climate change and how students can contribute to help it reduce, Reuters reports.
The curriculum upholds intensive agriculture as one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emission and advises to skip meat and dairy per week while having more fruit and vegetables. Other vital recommendations are using second-hand as much possible, driving less and recycling.
The move has reportedly sparked criticism among the country’s farmers who say they feel ‘targeted.’ Livestock and the country’s ‘grass-fed’ dairy are in high demand across the world. Agriculture makes up to 60% of the country’s GDP.
A dairy farmer from New Zealand’s northern Waikato region Malcolm Lumsden told: “If they are going to continue to bite the hand that feeds them, and farming feeds New Zealand, then they are going to lose out in the long term.”
Parliamentarian from the country’s ruling opposition The National Party, Tim van de Molen also criticized the curriculum by saying it is “very opinionated and don’t have a clear scientific basis.”
“It’s clear that farming has an impact on the climate — so does everything, and so that’s where we need to be very clear,” he added.
The bane of climate change
The leading cause of climate change is global warming caused by the greenhouse effect. It is a condition where the earth traps heat within the atmosphere instead of releasing it back to space.
Reports suggest agriculture is a significant contributor (12%) to global greenhouse gases, next only to emissions from human activities like transportation, and other energy consumption activities (73%).
Livestock belch and release methane which is the most egregious of all the greenhouse gases in trapping heat (25 times more).
What do you think about this measure taken by New Zealand schools? Comment your thoughts below.