Eat a Carrot – Save the World?

Vegetarianism is Good for the Planet

Here’s a conundrum for anyone who cares to give this some thought. Maybe I’m being sublimely obtuse, but the opening paragraph of a recipe feature in May’s edition of Ideal Home Magazine has got me totally stumped.

Miss the meat once a week.

Want to save money, help the planet and keep the family well fed? Then try an easy-to-make meat-free meal every weekend.

The magazine didn’t go on to explain their reasoning, just straight into the Veggie One-Pot Pie, so you might have to help me with this.

Now I get that veggies are cheaper than meat. I mean, even cuts of meat that the butcher used to practically give away because no one knew what to do with them are now on a par with a joint of topside, thanks to Jamie showing us all how to slow roast a shoulder of pork (delicious by the way – my family’s favourite).

And I get that veggies are good for you, though don’t ask for my opinion on a totally vegetarian diet if you’re that way inclined – I’d hate to give offense.

But can anyone tell me how eating a vegetarian meal once or twice a week can help the planet?

I tried thinking of the difference in carbon footprint; you know – air miles and all that. But am I mistaken in thinking that most meat in our supermarkets has the little Red Tractor label these days, assuring us that it’s been farmed, processed and packaged in the UK? With our lust for out-of-season and exotic vegetables from all corners of the globe, it’s hardly possible to claim the same for those.

So what other environmental advantages do veggies have over meat? I did hear a rumour that cows contribute significantly to greenhouse gases with their – um – emissions. So if we all eat a couple of meat-free meals a week, I guess we’ll need fewer cows. Fewer cows equals fewer farts and hey presto – we’ve done our bit to save the planet. Hmm. A tenuous link at best.

Perhaps it’s just the perception that vegetarians are somehow purer than meat-eaters? Better intentions, healthier lifestyles (don’t get me started), more considerate of the environment etc? There’s as much truth in that as in the prejudice that veggie-munchers are tree-hugging hippies with children named Tarquin and Sky and Cosmo. No, I don’t think eating vegetables per se is going to help the planet.

Well, I’m still flummoxed. If you have any ideas about it, do let me know.


About Mandy Cochrane

I'm a control freak but I'm also a pushover, I cry too easily but don't cry when I really need to, I'm a workaholic but too lazy to do the things that really matter. I'm a whole mixed up bag of conundrums. I'll work it all out one day. Probably.

Posted on May 2, 2012, in General, Health and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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