Happy Earth Day! Since 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated every year on April 22nd. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilise the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. This year’s official campaign is Green Cities to help cities and communities around the world accelerate their transition to a more sustainable future. The Earth Day website has detailed information on what is happening where and how you can take part.
If you would like to go one step further this Earth Day why not take the Meatless Monday pledge? Going meat-free one day a week is a simple and effective way to help the environment.
As the global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is forecasting global meat production to increase by 65% within the next 40 years. To understand the issues surrounding the meat industry you have to look at the intricate web that is the meat supply chain. In order to meet the growing demand for meat, animals are reared intensively, producing a huge amount of waste. Meat production generates high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which contribute to global warming. Through flatulence and manure, livestock produces methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), two very potent greenhouse gases. Did you know that in terms of GHG emissions “the consumption of 1 kg domestic beef in a household represents automobile use of a distance of ~160 km (99 miles)”.
Livestock is fed with grains which require land to grow. The meat industry requires around 33 percent of total arable land. Additional space for livestock and crops is usually created through deforestation. Deforestation impacts GHG emissions. Forests act as carbon storage as they use CO2 to grow. Once the trees are cut, the CO2 is released into the atmosphere. Deforestation adds more atmospheric CO2 than the sum total of cars & trucks on the world’s roads.
The meat industry also puts a huge burden on water supply. From the irrigation of feed-crops through production chain to the final consumer product, water is needed in large amounts throughout the meat production process. The numbers are again staggering: 15,415 litres of water are required to produce 1kg of beef in comparison to 287 litre of water for 1 kg of potatoes.
In the words of Meat Free Monday “One Day a Week Can Make of World of Difference”! So join us and go meat-free at least one day a week! Find out more about The Flexitarian Diet here or browse our meat-free recipes.
Happy Earth Day!