The United Nations Food Systems Summit recently organized a dairy industry forum to discuss the state of global dairy and its feasibility in times of changing consumer preferences, combined with ways to tackle the ongoing climate crisis.
Despite a focus on environment, the session panel did not have a single plant-based milk expert, which was unfortunate considering plant-based milks are more sustainable and have a much lower carbon footprint as compared to animal dairy.
The same was highlighted by one of the guests at the session – teen vegan activist Genesis Butler – who raised concerns over the ecological repercussions of animal agriculture. The 14-year-old activist also told the panel that she was worried about her future due to the worsening ecological degradation, and the panel at the session must take note of this concern.
She was, however, abruptly cut off when she voiced her opinion on the lack of a discussion around plant-based milk especially when it has been proven that dairy is amongst the prime culprits in worsening of climate.
Genesis took to her Instagram to share the ordeal. “I was kicked out of the [United Nations Food Systems Summit] pre-summit Zoom discussion on the global dairy industry and how they are addressing the climate crisis.”
“There were others who were asking similar questions about the global dairy industry and they were all kicked off.”
“This is discouraging because it’s supposed to be a public forum. It’s also discouraging because this shows [the dairy industry doesn’t] want to discuss alternatives. Our leaders are still focused on an animal-based food system and they are trying to greenwash it. This is why we are seeing an acceleration in the climate crisis. Our ‘leaders’ are stuck in their old ways of feeding and providing energy to the world,” she added.
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She was reportedly registered as a guest at the summit.
As soon as the secretariat was informed about Butler’s removal, they organized a separate Instagram live interview with her to hear and understand her opinion and perspective.
Like the renowned teen-activist Greta Thunberg, Genesis too feels that a plant-based food system can help move towards a more sustainable tomorrow.
In 2015, a BBC article explained the cons associated with the dairy industry and termed it a significant contributor to climate change with the industry emitting more than 1700 million tones of CO2, close to the emissions from travel and shipping combined.
Since the 70’s, dairy production has dropped over 30%. As the demand spirals downward, the dairy industry is now openly rallying against the plant-based milk industry. Recently, Californian brand Miyoko’s Creamery made headlines after winning a lawsuit to continue labeling and marketing their products as butter and cheese.