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Eat More Plants

Eat More Plants

Reducing the amount of meat in your diet is a great step to take if you’re looking for something that makes a difference to you individually. Eating less meat will reduce your environmental impact while also improving your health and saving you money.

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Why

Producing the food we eat accounts for over 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This carbon pollution mostly comes from the deforestation needed to grow food to feed livestock, although the process of producing meat has its own impact, too. Producing one joint of beef accounts for 85kg of carbon pollution - the same as flying from London to Paris.

Eating less meat has other benefits. Less saturated fats means a lower likelihood of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. And less deforestation means reducing flood risk and contamination of rivers in places all over the world. So eating less meat doesn’t just make you healthier, it helps protect the places you love too.

How

A diet with less meat doesn’t have to be dull. Find local greengrocers to discover more interesting, local produce or use delivery boxes to get fresh vegetables straight to your door.

There are two things worth bearing in mind as you take this step. Firstly, cows are particularly carbon intensive so focusing on reducing beef from your diet will maximize your impact. Secondly, sustainably farmed meat has far lower environmental impacts than industrially produced meat so when you do eat meat, consider buying from sustainable sources to supercharge your carbon reduction - it usually tastes better too.

References

Producing the food we eat accounts for 25% of greenhouse gases globally:
BBC

Producing a joint of beef releases over 85kg of CO2:
The Guardian

Less saturated fats means lower chance of diseases:
John Hopkins

Primary cause of tropical deforestation is agriculture:
NASA Observatory

Impact metric calculations:

Assumption 1: average portion of meat is 0.075 kg (source: BDA - The Association of UK Dietitians Food Fact Sheet: Portion sizes)

Carbon footprint of meat, taken from Defra (2006) Environmental Impacts of Food Production and Consumption.

Carbon footprint of pulses, taken from Audsley, E., Brander, M., Chatterton, J., Murphy-Bokern, D., Webster, C., and Williams, A. (2009). How low can we go? An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the UK food system and the scope to reduce them by 2050: WWF-UK