Embracing Green Goodness: Veg Pledge and the Environmental Impacts
Julie Dyer, Itec’s Head of Operations and Eco Champion, delves into the importance of the Veg Pledge Challenge for both our lifestyle and the environment.
The Veg Pledge is a yearly campaign throughout the month of November created by Cancer Research UK, encouraging individuals to improve their diets through eating more fruit and vegetables. Adopting a nutritious and plant-focused diet has incredible benefits. According to Cancer Research UK, eating a lot of processed and red meat can increase the risk of bowel cancer, therefore cutting down can be extremely beneficial.
Not only that, but adopting a plant-focused diet is a lot better for the environment. According to the UN, the impact of livestock emissions is 14% of all man-made greenhouse gasses, including methane. The production of meat requires large amounts of land for grazing and growing livestock, which can lead to deforestation and the loss of biodiversity.
In a society where meat products are readily available, it can be challenging to pause and reflect on the environmental consequences of obtaining these products. While it may not be realistic to expect everyone to adopt a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, incorporating minor adjustments into one’s diet to promote sustainability can have a significant positive impact. As suggested by the Energy Saving Trust, making simple changes such as blending higher-impact proteins like beef with lower-impact proteins like peas can make a substantial difference. For instance, beef is estimated to produce approximately 90% more Earth-warming emissions compared to peas when comparing their protein content. Therefore, a practical approach could involve mixing beans into stews or soups and reducing the meat content by half.
More tips for eating less meat:
- Try meatless Mondays: This is an effective way to dedicate one day a week to being meat-free.
- Explore meat alternatives: Brands such as Quorn and Vivera have excellent alternatives to family favourites that are extremely simple to cook.
- Expand your horizons with vegetables: Give yourself an opportunity to be creative with new cooking methods and flavours for your favourite veg.
- Connect with others: Join online groups or follow creators who create and share plant-based recipes.
- Research more plant-based challenges: Explore a plant-based recipe as part of the Veg Pledge, or as the new year approaches, you might want to join in the Veganuary challenge!