This is short post on some possible ideas for New Year’s resolutions, all surrounding what we can to for plants and animals.
This is something I did a few years ago and had no intention of one day becoming vegetarian, I just wanted to reduce eating meat in areas that didn’t need it. I still think eating meat in moderation could create a market of sustainable and ethically produced food. But the current efforts to slice, grate and squeeze meat into every food that isn’t chocolate isn’t going to do this any time soon. Eating meat in moderation would be a significant contribution to the common good.
Eating as much meat as we do (mostly talking about the U.S. and Western Europe), is simply not sustainable.
It seems strange to think of helping the environment by reducing the amount of meat in your diet but it would actually make a huge change. Forget shorter showers, turning lights off when you leave rooms and turning the TV to standby, cut down in meat! (Okay… don’t forget all the other stuff, I’m being dramatic, try them all together)
Essentially, the meat market requires a lot of land, a lot of transport and machinery and is incredibly inefficient in getting the calories we need. This is because you obviously need to feed an animal a lot more calories than the number of calories you get out.
The meat industry increases land usage, transport and habitat destruction, it increases the number of animal extinctions and the use of fossil fuels. It increases methane in the atmosphere (from the cattle industry) as well as the use of fertilizers. The meat industry also uses an incredibly amount of water, something not done in arable farming, and all of these contribute to damaging the planet.
To see an overview of these issues see the full infographic here: LINK
This resolution also has the added benefit of reducing the number of animals slaughtered each year, which is always good!
Meat Free Monday is a campaign of increasing popularity and I suggest for people who really are carnivores at heart to give it a go (link here).
Although, I do have some doubts about this campaign, particularly given that it seems a lot of people who do it will then just eat more meat later in the week.
But! It will hopefully get people cooking vegetarian foods and show people how easy and tasty meatless food is, as well as how normal is it! The constant addition of meat to every curry, sauce and sandwich is not normal or necessary, at least not in most countries.
This is obviously the far more extreme option, but obviously one of the most effective. Definitely worth a go!
I have to admit I was one of the people who mocked veganism and thought it was stupid… turns out I was wrong! Mostly…
Many of the same issues from point one are here, with the increased use of animals in the food industry means an increase in CO2 emissions.
Also! Thousands of animals are killed every year in this industry, either because they are male and don’t produce the necessary product or because they stop producing the product prematurely. This creates the production of genocidal camps for animals in which they are forced to produce copious amounts of eggs, or gallons of milk or what-not, or they will be killed. And I know this because, like most people, I have see the movie Chicken Run.
But ultimately this market causes greater CO2 emissions, the killing of animals, habitat destruction and a reduction in biodiversity and finally, causes the animals to change genetically, until there is almost nothing “natural” about them and they are just machines of production.
Also! Maybe worth trying Veganuary this January.
But! Also worth mentioning importing soya and almonds hundreds of miles from often quite backward markets isn’t great… still not sure where I stand with veganism…
This looks amazing. The RSPCA encourage fostering animals from shelters to improve the lives of the animals but also to improve their likelihood of being adopted by getting them ready for a new home. You can improve their social skills with humans and be sure they are capable to living in this, presumably, new environment. But also get to spend time with animals which is always good!
Visit the RSCPA page on this subject here: LINK
This is an easy one, but can often be a very helpful one. A yearly visit to the vet for your animal can greatly increase their health, catching issues early and ensuring they are living healthy lives.
I have a recent post on all the benefits of eating seasonally (see here), so to name a few:
- Reduce emissions
- Reduce the price of food
- Improve local economies
- Make your country more self-sufficient
- In some cases improve the welfare of people across the world
Not the sexiest of New Year’s resolutions but after a year of living in Edinburgh and seeing the city’s great attempts at sustainability I feel bad for how I was recycling before. With a food waste bin, a recycling bin and garden waste bin, very little is actually left for the smaller landfill bin.
I feel I have reduced my amount of landfill waste by at least half, and if I move again I will hopefully continue like this. Might have to buy a compost bin…
Fairlie, S. (2010). Meat. 1st ed. White River Junction, Vt.: Chelsea Green Pub.
Meat Free Monday (2016). Home – Meat Free Monday. [online] Meat Free Monday. Available at: http://www.meatfreemondays.com/ [Accessed 29 Dec. 2016].
RSCPA (2016). [online] Available at: https://www.rspca.org.uk/home [Accessed 29 Dec. 2016].