To beef or not to beef?

Jan 19, 2021

Working together as families in negotiating the transition is never more important than at mealtimes. Accommodating different diets has always been a challenge from when babies wield the power of refusing or mistreating food to when family members have varying tastes, fads and diets. It is hard to exaggerate the impact that food systems have on carbon emissions and biodiversity loss and many of those who are declaring climate and ecological emergencies will have food at the top of their action lists.

Those in the know will be aware that in general terms (ie picking meat off a supermarket shelf), beef has the greatest carbon footprint (and most likely to be causing damaging land use change), then lamb, pork and then poultry. Vegetarians are helping but for every milk cow (also needed for cheese and butter) there is a bull calf for beef or veal. Eggs can be better subject to non-soy diets and animal welfare standards. There is no question that veganism is best and this has has become part of climate conversations. One example is the conversation manufactured by Oatly:

Their advertising plays on the family dynamic and embraces mothers and uncles in the supporting cast. It goes into fine detail on carbon footprints (and don't forget other environmental impacts).

The road to zero could be negotiated in annual steps. However, building a route map would be sign of taking the project seriously and could best be done by starting with a vision of the net zero family in 2030, and backcasting to 2021. This is done by creating the steps that going in a forward direction take us from our present three planets to just one. This process will be covered in future blogs but the route will probably have to include the time when the step is taken from omnivore to mostly vegan. Making this part of the family emergency should make it easier for the cook, and those sharing the meals to stomach an , not to keep asking ask "where's the beef?"