Milking the Planet: Big Dairy Fuels the Climate Crisis

For a Better World

Dec 14 2021 • 29 mins


Industrial animal agriculture is fueling the climate crisis, with food and farming systems accounting for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. And while big dairy operations are contributing to climate change, they are also impacting the health and economies of rural communities throughout the United States and globally. And that is the model that Fair Trade USA has dubbed “fair trade dairy.” In this episode, Shefali Sharma of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy joins us to discuss the role of Big Dairy in fueling the climate crisis and hollowing out rural communities. She explains the need for transparency and real policy solutions to address industrial agriculture’s emissions – and protect the planet for future generations. Topics covered include: How industrial animal agriculture is contributing to climate change. How Big Meat and Dairy hide their climate impact behind a lack of transparency. Manure lagoons, dead zones, and other environmental consequences for rural communities. “Net Zero” and other tricky language Big Dairy corporations use to hide their real impact on the planet.  How environmental sustainability is a pillar of how fair trade farmer organizations represent their movement - and how it’s completely omitted from the new “fair trade dairy” label. The disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis on communities of color in the U.S. and globally. Regulating emissions, reducing production, and other solutions to address industrial animal agriculture’s disproportionate impact on our planet.  Why worker-led solutions are a key component of climate justice. False solutions to look out for in the news, and in the grocery store. Resources The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s report: Milking the Planet: How Big Dairy is heating up the planet and hollowing rural communities: https://www.iatp.org/milking-planet (https://www.iatp.org/milking-planet) More on the petition to the Environmental Protection Agency calling for regulation of industrial dairy and hog farming, citing the disproportionate impacts of industrial animal agriculture on communities of color and rural communities: https://www.foodandpower.net/latest/food-ej-groups-epa-hog-dairy-methane-petition (https://www.foodandpower.net/latest/food-ej-groups-epa-hog-dairy-methane-petition)  More on false solutions to the problems of industrial dairy: https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/blog/6457/the-dairy-digester-dilemma-a-false-climate-solution (https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/blog/6457/the-dairy-digester-dilemma-a-false-climate-solution) Impacts of the climate crisis on farmworkers and how organized workers are pushing for new heat protections under the law: https://inthesetimes.com/article/climate-change-heat-wave-pacific-northwest-workers-rights-unions-farm-construction (https://inthesetimes.com/article/climate-change-heat-wave-pacific-northwest-workers-rights-unions-farm-construction) How worker-driven programs are able to respond nimbly to the challenges of a changing planet: https://ciw-online.org/blog/2021/08/relief-from-the-heat/ (https://ciw-online.org/blog/2021/08/relief-from-the-heat/)