Raising animals takes up 80% of agriculture land, but only contributes to 18% of the world’s calories. The meat industry also generates more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation industry and numerous fish species are at critical levels. Most of us know that eating substantially less meat and dairy will alleviate some of the biggest negative impacts the industry is having on the environment. Deforestation, destruction of tropical rainforests, enormous water usage, plastic waste in the ocean (due to fishing), soil degradation, the devastation of factory farming and cruelty, waterway pollution and of course climate change are all consequences of our growing rates of meat-eating.
How many meals do you have each week that include some form of meat? Can you halve it to start? In most cities we can all reduce our consumption significantly and that has a huge positive effect on your environmental footprint. Make it fun! One of our biggest tips to transition is to do direct swaps. Love tacos for example? They’re super easy to make vegetarian and taste amazing! We like creating a mushroom + taco spice mix and then piling on all the fresh vegetables with some sweet chilli sauce. There are amazing blogs online for recipes too. We’re big fans of the Pumpkin Chilli on @thugkitchen. Also if you’re craving a burger we have amazing alternatives now for those cravings occasionally.
Remember that there are a lot of people, particularly Indigenous peoples and many communities in lower-economic communities, that eat meat sustainably and without factory farming. The women at our studio in Cambodia share one small piece of dried meat – the size of a palm – between them across some days of the week. The cow has been locally raised on a farm. The rest of the time they eat fairly vegetarian with small fish pieces and chicken to supplement their diets (not factory farmed). It’s needed. There wouldn’t be enough to fulfill nutrition otherwise. Lis really struggled nutrient wise out there this year with the poor harvest. There are lots of places that have significantly more difficulty with access to fresh produce, across the world, so we need to address that.