Government and the farming industry is part of a system that needs to change if we are to adapt to climate change and forestall a worsening of the current climate crisis. Nevertheless individuals can also be part of the process of change. We can buy less meat and dairy products and more – and more varied – plant based foods – ideally those that are locally grown and organic. We can support through donations and volunteering, habitat restoration and re-wilding schemes.
Particularly relating to food, you might choose to reduce – or cut out completely – animal products from your diet. You might choose to only what is in season to avoid importing food over long distances. https://greentau.org/2021/08/14/green-tau-issue-12/
3. Paying a fair price for the food we eat. You might buy direct from a farm or a group of farms, or via a local vegetable box scheme. You might support a local farmers’ market. You might buy from a local independent green grocer. Similarly you might buy milk etc from a milk round where the price reflects the cost to the farmer. For cheeses, look to buy from small scale producers via a local cheese shop. And again buying fair trade options for imported foods can help ensure a fair price for the producer. Alternatively look out for products – coffee beans and chocolate in particularly – that have been sourced directly from the grower. These are often available through local independent shops and cafés.
Another option would be to subscribe to the OddBox fruit and veg scheme which buys food stuffs that would otherwise go to waste because they are misshapen, because the supermarket doesn’t want the crop, or because the crop has been too large or too small for the supermarket buyer – https://www.oddbox.co.uk/
4. Buying from local producers and local retailers helps to improve local supply chains.
If you have time, the cheapest and healthiest way of reducing meat and dairy is to cook from scratch using ingredients like beans, tofu and lentils, rather than relying on processed vegan foods. Processed foods also have a higher carbon footprint than cooking a meal from scratch.’
Major institutions are helping people make this change in lifestyle by serving less or no meat in their canteens. In 2022 Stirling became the first UK university to ban the sale of meat in its campus food outlets. This year Cambridge University has voted to do likewise. Newcastle Hospitals has meat free Mondays, which is an approach followed by various schools and colleges.
Tomorrow is the start of Veganuary. This annual campaign encouraging people to rescue their consumption of animal products. 600,000 people officially taking part in 2022, up on the 580,000 who took part in 2021. YouGov tracker data suggests 2-3% of the UK population are now vegan and 5-7% vegetarian – and growing!
Delegates at the Biodiversity COP are working to define what it is to be ‘nature positive’. I would hope it means a default of working with rather than against the natural environment wherever possible. One of the Guardian correspondents commented that little is being said about how we as individuals can be ‘nature positive’, adding “Dietary changes, for example, is one of the most significant things people reading this could do to reduce their impact on biodiversity, namely cutting meat consumption.”