Climate Change Teaching Resource Not Based On Nutrition


Climate Change Teaching Resource Not Based On
Nutrition Science

Beef + Lamb New Zealand
is concerned at the new climate change teaching resource
published by the Ministry for Education. The resource,
Climate Change: Prepare Today, Live Well Tomorrow,
aimed at level 4 teachers, makes specific
recommendations to ‘eat less meat and dairy’.

Fiona Windle, Head of Nutrition at Beef + Lamb New
Zealand said: “We support providing our children with
information on climate change. The basis of this resource is
founded on good intention and constructive discussion;
however, we are concerned about the simplistic approach that
has been taken and sweeping recommendations provided without
context. While ‘reduce meat and dairy’ is a popular
soundbite to roll out, the implications on our youngest and
most impressionable in society could be far reaching and

“The recommendation to reduce meat
and dairy consumption comes with no framework as to what
represents a healthy diet. We ask the Ministry of Education;
what should our children reduce their meat consumption to
and what is the actual impact of doing so? There is no
reference to the Ministry of Health eating guidelines which
recommends consumption of both meat and dairy and no caveat
as to the nutritional benefits animal-based foods offer. We
know that a third of young girls here in Aotearoa – whose
nutrient needs change during puberty – don’t achieve
their daily iron intake requirements, a mineral vital for
learning and cognition, yet there is a blanket statement
suggesting they should just ‘reduce’ their meat

Another puzzling recommendation in
Climate Change: Prepare Today, Live Well Tomorrow is
to go to for meat-free recipe
ideas. Beef + Lamb New Zealand fully supports increasing
fruit and vegetable consumption, but questions why children
are directed to a USA-based vegetarian website rather than
using Kiwi organisations like 5+ A Day or that could provide
local, seasonal advice to New Zealanders.

Windle added: “It was very difficult to determine’s nutrition
credentials. The only ‘Tip & Hint’ listed on their
website is to encourage people to drink apple cider vinegar
for weight loss! This would never be recommended by a
registered nutritionist or dietitian as an suitable method
to manage weight loss and it’s not appropriate for
school-aged children to be directed to this unvetted

Jeremy Baker, Chief Insights Officer
for Beef + Lamb New Zealand added: “The sector would
welcome an opportunity to discuss the carbon footprint
considerations lying behind the advice to reduce meat
consumption. Absolute greenhouse gas emissions from sheep
and beef have reduced by 30 percent since 1990. It is one
of the only sectors to have met the country’s Paris
Commitments. Given methane is a short-lived gas, the
magnitude of this kind of reduction means our sector has not
been contributing to additional warming for a number of
decades and significantly alters our carbon footprint

He continued: “In addition, there is 1.4
million hectares of native forest on sheep and beef farms
which is offsetting much of the remaining warming. We all
need to be taking steps to address climate change. What we
are seeking is better context and understanding provided so
that the right decisions can be made about the changes that
people can make.”


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