Given the huge environmental impacts of meat and dairy, it makes sense for all of us to reassess our diets for the benefit of the climate, nature and farm animals
Conversations around environmental protection are transitioning from a background buzz to an insistent clamour.
We are reaching critical mass in terms of public consciousness around the seriousness of the issue, and the vital need for behavior and policy change.
It seems that – after slow and painstaking progress – focus is shifting to take into account the vital actions that need to be taken. The plastic revolution is gaining momentum. Transport emissions are being taken more seriously. And – at long last – people are starting to address the food that they’re eating.
Plate Up for the Planet is a pioneering campaign which highlights the link between the food we eat and its impact on the environment.
The campaign was launched in 2017 by The Vegan Society. It champions the power of plant-based foods to combat climate change and encourages the eco-conscious to try out a vegan diet for a week.
So far over 16,000 people have signed up, collectively preventing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.
What could be the most promising change that has occurred since the campaign’s inception is the fact that environmental organisations now recognise that encouraging people to choose a more plant-based diet is a powerful solution to the climate change challenge.
This years’ Plate Up for the Planet activities are kicking off with a roadshow around environmental organisations and large workplaces around the UK. Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and more are hosting the event.
The roadshow began on 5 June – World Environment Day – at the Friends of the Earth offices. Employees tucked into what has been described as possibly the ‘world’s greenest curry’ – a delicious plant-based creation featuring locally-sourced products.
An excellent example of vegan fare, the curry cost only 43p per portion, showing that vegan food doesn’t have to break the bank. The associated carbon emissions of a beef and lentil curry are calculated to be a whopping 15 times higher than the plant-based version.
The dish was cooked by vegan chef Simon Bishop, who has a background in Michelin-level cookery and currently works in the education sector consulting on the benefits of plant-based nutrition in schools.
Simon said, “We are excited to show people how much of a difference they can make simply by changing the way they eat. Our curry is delicious, sustainable, nutritious, cheap and easy to make – it’s the ultimate meal across all dimensions.”
The event also featured the launch of The Vegan Society’s Carbon Food Calculator, originally conceptualised by The University Caterers Organisations in collaboration with industry experts such as Harvard fellow Dr Helen Harwatt.
The online tool allows visitors to work out the greenhouse gas footprint of their menu options, by inputting the ingredients, the country of origin (if known), and the amount.
Clare Oxborrow, Food and Farming Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, spoke about the event. She said: “Given the huge environmental impacts of meat and dairy, it makes sense for all of us to reassess our diets for the benefit of the climate, nature and farm animals.
“We also need the government and food industry to make it much easier for people to access healthy, sustainable diets.
“Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, everyone can enjoy more veg-based meals. Cheaper, great for the planet and your health, and tasty too – what’s not to love?”
Elena Orde is communication and campaigns officer for the The Vegan Society.
If you would like to take part, please sign up to Plate Up for the Planet today, and take a significant step towards helping to protect the future of our planet.
Those who take part receive recipe content, handy tips and motivation to keep them on track throughout their vegan week. And who knows? Maybe you’ll never look back.