Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Meat free day

I see that Sir Paul McCartney is suggesting people should give up meat for one day a week in an attempt to go green. Meat production, especially from cattle, has a significant impact on the environment. It takes 10kg of grain to produce one kg of beef. At a time when grain prices are soaring because of food shortages (caused in part by big increases in demand for meat), giving up meat for one day a week will help, assuming we were all to do it.

As I have mentioned a few times on this blog, I have gone much further than that. I only eat meat at the weekend or on special occasions and have largely, but not completely, cut out dairy products. (It's amazing how much better tea tastes without milk!)

The solution to a number of environmental problems is to cut out over indulgence rather than cutting out something altogether. Humans evolved as omnivores, ie eating both plants and animals. But we eat too much animal products than we have evolved to eat with consequent harmful effects on health and the environment. Yet calls to cut out something completely may be counter productive. Telling everyone they should go vegetarian just won't work. Suggesting people cut down rather than exclude may achieve something more positive.
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Anonymous said...

And don't forget the insanity of biofuels which not only diverts grain production from food to fuel, but promotes the destruction of vast areas of environmentally diverse rain forest in favour of huge palm oil plantations. It's having little effect on fuel prices but a huge one on food prices.

Vadim said...

I dunno if I agree. I've been a vegetarian for quite a while and I feel extremely healthy, moreso than I was as an omnivore.

Obviously vegetarianism isn't for everybody but it shouldn't be discouraged because it's not an evolutionary norm (I'm not really familiar with the science involved.) But I do know that there is no health issues associated with vegetarianism so I don't believe it's detrimental even in the long run.

In any case I think what Paul said was awesome, and it inspired me to take it to a local level:


This is a campaign I started to do just that: cut out meat from your diet one day a week. I don't eat any personally so I'm going vegan on Mondays. Hopefully this will encourage everyone to cut out their burden on the environment at least one day a week.


Tim said...

Good Job! :)