A hippy, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary,
‘(especially in the 1960s) a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair and wearing beads, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values and the taking of hallucinogenic drugs’ –
(of a woman) having large hips. ‘she looked very hippy in her jeans’
OK, OK so, drug taking, questionable fashion sense and big hips aside, there is actually an important point I wanted to make here. One of the more important philosophies popularised by the hippies of the 60’s was vegetarianism (and veganism). In the 60’s this choice was mainly due to ethical reasons and this is still the same today. However, now we have another serious concern with eating meat and that is the impact on the environment.
- Carbon emissions from animal farming already accounts for more than 14.5% of global carbon emissions (Cattle responsible for 65% of this total) – FAO and this is rising at almost 3% per year.
- We already use a staggering 40% of the Earths land mass for raising livestock or the food required to feed them. Consider that the demand for meat is expected to double in the next 15 years – FAO
- An estimated 70% of the destruction of the rainforests in South America was to provide grazing for animals.
Check out the table below which shows the carbon intensity of various foods. You can see clearly the issues with consuming beef and lamb in particular from a carbon intensity point of view.
If we consider that a vegan requires around 1/6 acre to be sustained. Someone who eats an average western diet, with plenty of red meat, will require over 3 acres each. And here’s the thing, there are only 7.68 billion acres of arable land on Earth. If my maths is correct, then unless something changes pretty quick, there are going to be some serious issues.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love meat, I really do. But for something as serious as this I have decided to make some choices and to try and make a difference. Below is my list that I try and stick to, in order to reduce my ecological footprint. And, as I find more and more vegetarian recipes that I like, I plan to continue to reduce my consumption of meat and dairy. By my estimates, my ecological footprint has been reduced by over 80% by making these small changes and to be honest, it was pretty easy.
- Now, I typically eat at least 50% of my meals without any meat. That is 3 or 4 days per week. My hippy meals! Although I am not allowed to smoke pot at the table!
- I made the switch from eating grazing animals, ie: cows and sheep and now only eat low impact meats such as chicken and pork or kangaroo.
- I also try and choose organic and/or sustainably breed meat whenever possible.
So, what will your pledge look like? What easy changes can you make to your diets to reduce your impact on the planet? What about vegetarian meals one day a week or more? Or, how about kicking that cow in the backside and opting for something more sustainable instead!
There are so many ways in which we can help reduce our environmental footprint but with so much going on it is hard sometimes to remember. Rather than remember, the best way is to form a habit and the best way to form a habit is by utilising the 3 R’s:
- Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
- Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
- Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)
Each week, for 52 weeks, we will post a new idea to help you reduce your waste and work towards a cleaner less polluted lifestyle. Hopefully, by the end, some of the idea’s will become habitual and stick with you forever. Consider this to be your gift to the world.
#reducewaste #environmentalfootprint #onebrownplanet