Following the release of the 2017 State of the Environment report, Greenpeace has petitioned the New Zealand government to stop the growth of industrial dairy farming, which is New Zealand’s major climate polluter.
The report, which is published every three years, examines the many environmental concerns caused by land use, pollution, and climate change. The paper also calculates how diminishing environmental health will affect New Zealand’s population’s well-being.
“We call on the Government to halve New Zealand’s dairy herd from the 2019 peak of 6.3 million cows, to reduce the impacts of industrial dairying on freshwater, biodiversity, climate, and people’s health,” says Greenpeace.
Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and dairy cow urine are the leading drivers of nitrate contamination in drinking water, in addition to harming rivers and the environment.
Using nitrate-contaminated water for drinking or food preparation has been related to a variety of health problems, including blue baby syndrome. Some studies have also suggested that nitrate exposure may be linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
The Time To Act Is Now
“The dairy industry has been telling us they’re cleaning up their act, but the environmental data shows the biggest degradations in rivers, climate, soil, marine coastal areas and drinking water are being caused by industrial dairy and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer,” said Steve Abel, Senior Campaigner of Greenpeace.
Greenpeace is urging the government to phase out synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, reduce herd numbers, and assist farmers in shifting to more plant-based, lower-impact farming for the sake of the climate, waterways, and human health now that the numbers are in.
Greenpeace’s petition can be found here for those who are interested.
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