Chile canceled the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP25, because of the country's internal problems. Madrid offered to hold it and in a matter of a month the event was organized in this city. Congratulations, Madrid!
I decided to attend, like any ordinary citizen, to the so-called “green zone,” which was the one for the general public, since the “blue zone” was for participants and experts. There were forums and booths where, for example, citizen participation, rainwater recovery and wastewater recycling were analyzed, or how the hotel industry – a great source of Spanish gross domestic product – can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint. Also, there were discussions about the role of indigenous peoples, how to save bats and e-mobility. Coffee was served in recyclable cardboard cups – of course – and some stands showed recycled cardboard furniture. But what about food? Or the animal agriculture industry?
I was surprised to see there was no information from the agrifood industry, except for a sustainable development goals (SDG) card for this sector, from the Spanish Network of the U.N. Global Compact. Nothing was shared about the intensive animal production industry, which although uses grains and oilseeds produced in fields with yields never seen before, uses little land for animals, unlike "natural" alternatives that use much more production land, with much worse feed conversion rates. There was no mention of how there is concern about recycling water, using alternative energy, improving feed conversion rates, eliminating antibiotics, using agricultural by-products, composting with chicken manure or mortality, using enzymes, making the most of the meat produced or using animal co-products. Should I go on?
A total absence of an industry that continuously has been used as punching bag for the use of water and soil, production of methane, impact on biodiversity, lack of being natural, and so on. This was an absence that impacts the public. Where was it? How much longer to move up a gear?
When leaving the venue, at the entrance of the subway station, there were obviously vegans distributing free recipes or volunteers who told you about the ruminant methane production. Those were there.
To repeat what I once saw in a Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) presentation: Is there more noble mission than multiplying food? Hopefully something on agriculture is part of the blue zone.
What do you think?