Intensive livestock production is a major contributor of greenhouse gases, currently releasing around 15% of global emissions according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The main greenhouse gas produced by livestock is methane which is burped out by the animals (contrary to popular belief it does not come out their back end!) With global meat and dairy production set to double by 2050 as more nations move to a more meat based diet, we need to take action to buck the trend. Some sustainability experts suggest we need to be eating 50% less meat than current levels and to double our fruit and vegetable consumption to avoid climate catastrophe.
And it’s not just the climate that is being impacted, agricultural intensification and expansion, and overfishing, are major factors in the loss of species and biodiversity. Expansion of cattle ranches drives the clearance of species rich forest in many parts of the world, leading to the loss of biodiversity and removing trees vital for tackling the climate emergency.
We are not suggesting that you become a fully-fledged vegan over night, but swapping out meat for just a couple of meals a week, will reduce climate impact. It will give you the chance to try new things in the kitchen, experience new recipes and flavours. Non-meat dishes are just as easy to make, just as tasty and full of nutrition.
Here are some tips to get you started and ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need:
Consuming too much meat is not good for us, so swapping out some of it will be good for our health, reducing the risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and cancers. In 2010, a study carried out by Oxford University’s department of public health found that across the UK eating meat no more than three times a week could prevent 31,000 deaths from heart disease, 9,000 deaths from cancer and 5,000 deaths from stroke, as well as save the NHS £1.2 billion in costs each year.
Replacing meat with alternatives is a cheaper way to cook. Plant based proteins typically used to replace meat, like beans and lentils are much cheaper than meat. According to Office for National Statistics figures for 2018, the average UK family spends £15.70 a week on meat and fish, which would buy you a whole lot of vegetables! Eating meat less often means you have a greater meat budget when you do decide to indulge. When buying meat you can then buy better quality, better cuts, organic and tastier options. Remember to support your local Fife suppliers too; who will provide excellent quality and whose produce will have travelled a shorter distance.
Hubbub’s campaign Meat Your Match looks at the link between meat and masculinity. It challenges the notion that going plant based means a lack of protein in your diet.
The internet is packed with plant-based recipes. Here are a few of our favourite:
Share your pledge online using our #BigFiveForFife social media library where you will find readymade tiles for sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Please use the hashtags #BigFiveForFife and #ClimateActionFife on your posts.
Take a look at the Scottish Government’s Net Zero Nation campaign for more ideas on how to take climate action.
Thank you for being a Climate Champion!