Meat eaters! Will you swap just one meal for the health of our planet?

Man with HUGE veggie burger

"125 lb Cyclist Takes on 3 lb Veggie Burger"
Today marks the launch of World Meat Free Week where 200 million people globally will be asked to skip just one meaty meal. The impacts on climate change and the environment will be significant. And some people may even try new, delicious vegan food, writes BRENDAN MONTAGUE

The water used to produce just one hamburger is the equivalent to the water used in two months’ worth of showers.

A global initiative will today put a spotlight on the importance of reducing our meat intake for the sake of our planet by encouraging people to make at least one meal meat free. This year's World Meat Free Week runs until Sunday, 17 June 2018.

Already this year World Meat Free Week has garnered support from UK singer songwriter and Strictly Come Dancing winner Jay McGuiness, Joanna Lumley and John Bishop.

Jay said: “I am a passionate supporter of World Meat Free Week. It’s so important that we seriously look at the impact meat production is having on our precious planet. By simply swapping to a meat free meal just once a week really can make a difference – it’s so easy to do!”

Huge impact

The global population will reach 9.1 billion by 2050, according to some research. This larger public will require an extra 200 million tonnes of meat annually if we continue at our present rate of consumption.

Meat production is already responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than all emissions from global transport combined. What’s more, the livestock sector uses 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface while 69 percent of global fresh water is attributed to the food system.

Appallingly, 80 percent of the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest is attributed to beef production. It is now widely accepted that to increase our output to meet the rising demand is neither sustainably nor ethically feasible.

According to the campaign, making just a simple swap to one meat free meal during World Meat Free Week can have a huge impact. It can also act as a 'catalyst' to further behaviour change to a “less and better approach to meat” for the sake of a healthier planet.

Carbon footprint

By skipping a meaty meal, each person can:

·         Save greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to enough electricity to charge your mobile phone for two years.

·         Reduce your carbon footprint by up to 50 percent for the day.

Globally, we would together save:

·         The carbon equivalent of boiling a kettle more than 1 trillion times – that’s a lot of tea and coffee!

·         More than 685 billion calories – that’s over 1.2 billion Big Macs.

Today, more than 3.5 million people across the UK describe themselves as vegan - with a whopping seven million switching to vegetarianism to help decrease their carbon footprint. This means more people than ever are now looking to reduce their meat intake.

Meat eaters are being encouraged to simply pledge their support online and swap at least one meal to meat free. You can also help promote the campaign on social media with @Meat_Free_Week and #WorldMeatFreeWeek.

World Meat Free Week is a registered charity that aims to encourage people around the globe to reduce their meat consumption. The campaign aims to reach 200 million people globally with support from Greenpeace Worldwide, Quorn Foods, Chris Darwin, John Bishop and Joanna Lumley.

This Author

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This story is based on a press release from World Meat Free Week.

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