Research has found, that if the world continues consuming meat at its current rate, we would soon need three earths to feed us.
With the population set to increase by 30% to over 11 billion people by 2050, the situation is only set to worsen. Even if the world could stop food waste entirely, food production would still need to increase by 60% in order to feed this larger, wealthier and urban population. That means a meat production of over 200 million tonnes at the current rate of consumption.
World Meat Free Day, a global initiative held this Monday 12 June, aims to make a ‘less and better’ approach to meat eating as easy as possible for meat eaters all over the world. It’s not about total abstinence, but a catalyst for change. By simply replacing just one meal on the 12th June, everyone can help make a huge impact on not only the planet, but their own health.
Nutrition scientist, Dr Joanna McMillan, says “it’s much easier to do than you think just fill up on greens, beans and vegetables. In many parts of the world, people who are the longest-lived, consume a largely plant-based diet with small amounts of meat. For example, In Sardinia, meat is mostly reserved for Sundays and special occasions, while in Okinawa, seafood is far more common than meat.”
“Good quality red meat does offer valuable nutrition but many of us eat far bigger portions than we need and not enough plant food. If when eating meat, you stick to a portion the size of the palm of your hand and fill half your plate with veggies, and opt for a least one vegetarian meal a week, you’re on the right track to longevity.”
It has been widely acknowledged that we cannot meet our meat demand in a sustainable, ethical way. To avoid the planet’s food production reaching critical levels, the 12th June hopes to help the world make a long-term behaviour change to eating less and better quality meat, as well as incorporating a greater variety of vegetables, grains, pulses, and plant based foods into their diets.
To put things into perspective, if the entire Australian population tried just one meat free recipe, we’d save:
- The carbon equivalent of the annual power use of 4,467 households.
- The land saving of 8,532 rugby fields.
- The water equivalent of 1,564 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The world’s focus is already turning towards a more ‘flexitarian’ approach to eating as we incorporate more plant based ingredients into diets than ever before. According to recent Mintel findings, 30% of US adults who purchase vegetables are actively trying to eat a more plant-based diet, while 29% of UK already claim to have reduced their meat intake in the past year alone.
This year’s drive comes off the back of two hugely successful years of the campaign, which saw #WorldMeatFreeDay trend for over 36 hours on Twitter, reaching over 84 million people last year alone. With high profile vegan or vegetarians including the likes of Beyoncé, Jay Z, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ellen DeGeneres, Paul McCartney, and Natalie Portman, World Meat Free Day hopes to continue gathering momentum to dramatically improve the health of our already fragile planet.
Actress Joanna Lumley, commentated: “I support World Meat Free Day with all my heart. Just a day without eating meat might encourage people to think again how best we can save the planet and stop cruelty to our fellow creatures at the same time.”
Across the world, people will be invited to pledge their support via the ‘I’m in’ button on the World Meat Free Day website, as well getting involved on social media via the official #WorldMeatFreeDay and @ Meat_Free_Day.
For more information about World Meat Free Day, visit: www.worldmeatfreeday.com