Get Back to Your Roots

It’s a new year and that means new resolutions, one that I know many of my friends have decided upon is reducing their meat consumption and moving towards a vegetable based diet. I decided to have a vegetable based diet back in May 2015 when I wrote an essay which in part out lined the impact of meat consumption. I was coming from a population/consumption angle therefore I argued a vegetable based diet is not only more environmentally sustainable but would also allow us to produce more on the same percentage of land.

“Reducing the consumption of meat and increasing the proportion that is derived from the most efficient sources offer an opportunity to feed more people…” (H.Charles et al, 2010)

I don’t believe the world should become meat free just that a reduction in meat consumption is logical for the environment, global food production and if nothing else our individual health. It seems the UN felt the same as in 2010 they released a report which declared that we needed “a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products” (UNEP, 2010). This trend seemed to be catching and in 2016 China announced its plan to reduce its meat consumption by 50% an encouraging move by a country often in the spotlight for its unsustainable practices. I have also heard more friends discuss documentaries such as Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Unity and Before the Flood all which discuss the impact of meat consumption. It is clear that awareness and education about the impact of meat consumption are on the rise…

…and it seems to be working! Three years on from when I chose to cut down on meat people are now listening to me and know the arguments better than I do. I am thrilled that people are beginning to think about the impact their diet has on our planet but I have some questions in my head. Will the reduction of meat consumption lead to a further increase in fish consumption?

Global wild fish capture in million tonnes, 1950–2010, as reported by the FAO
Like meat fish consumption increased rapidly in the last 70 years and the graph shows that wild fish capture has drastically increased in order to meet demands. I have discussed over fishing in my first blog post ‘Our Wondrous Ocean…’ so I wont bore you with the facts again however the impact a further increase in fish consumption could have, if my worries are realised, could be disastrous. Over fishing needs to be brought to people’s attention before cod replaces chicken, salmon replaces pork and tuna replaces beef on our plates.

I don’t have much to base my hypothesis on, that reduced meat consumption would lead to increased fish consumption …In research terms my argument is formed from qualitative pub based focus groups (not sure I can really say ‘focus’). I have not got statistics to back me up just the insight of listening to those around me however I just wanted to say if you have thought about changing your diet away from meat please take some time to find out about the consequences of a fish based diet too.

Thank you,

AJ

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