The Kind­est Cut Sim­ple ways to re­duce your en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print as you shop and cook.

Re­duc­ing the amount of meat you eat – even a lit­tle – can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on your en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print,

Australian House & Garden - - News - Learn more at sus­tain­abletable.org.au. writes Sarah Pick­ette.

Did you know Aus­tralians eat an av­er­age of 92kg of meat per per­son an­nu­ally? That’s about triple the global av­er­age. “Such ex­ces­sive meat con­sump­tion comes at a sig­nif­i­cant cost, es­pe­cially to the en­vi­ron­ment,” says Matthew Evans, host of SBS TV’s

Gourmet Farmer and For The Love of Meat doc­u­men­tary se­ries. Evans is a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for re­spon­si­ble meat-eat­ing and holds that, while it’s not nec­es­sary for ev­ery­one to be­come a veg­e­tar­ian, it is im­por­tant we all con­sider the im­pact of what we’re eat­ing.

“I per­son­ally choose to eat meat and to raise live­stock for meat,” he says, “but I’m of the view that Aus­tralians don’t need to eat any­where near the amount of meat we cur­rently do. The planet would ben­e­fit greatly if we could min­imise our con­sump­tion.”

Glob­ally, it’s es­ti­mated that the live­stock sec­tor is re­spon­si­ble for a min­i­mum of 51 per cent of all hu­man-caused green­house gas emis­sions, says Cassie Dun­can, gen­eral man­ager of Sus­tain­able Ta­ble, a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion de­voted to ed­u­cat­ing Aus­tralians on eth­i­cal eat­ing. A 2015 study by the Bar­illa Cen­tre for Food & Nu­tri­tion con­cluded a diet that is veg­e­tar­ian five days per week and

‘UP TO 60 PER CENT OF OUR PER­SONAL ECO FOOT­PRINT IS EM­BOD­IED IN THE FOOD WE BUY. THERE’S NO BET­TER PLACE TO START RE­DUC­ING OUR EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL

I M PAC T.’ CASSIE DUN­CAN, SUS­TAIN­ABLE TA­BLE

in­cludes meat two days per week could save up to 2218L of water and 2.9kg of car­bon-diox­ide emis­sions per per­son per day.

The im­pacts of meth­ane emis­sions and land degra­da­tion by live­stock are well doc­u­mented, says Evans, but for him the most press­ing con­cern is how much grain is grown to feed an­i­mals, which we then eat. “Re­ally, we should just eat that grain our­selves.”

Over the past few years, ‘meat-free Mon­days’ and sim­i­lar cam­paigns have grown in pop­u­lar­ity and reach. That’s a great thing, says Evans. “What’s re­ally nice is that it’s not only ac­cept­able, it’s ac­tu­ally quite laud­able to say, ‘I’m hav­ing a meat-free Mon­day.’ As re­cently as 10 years ago, peo­ple might have looked at you like you were some kind of ra­bid hip­pie!”

His ar­gu­ment is that you can love eat­ing meat and not even miss it one day a week. “If you eat good-qual­ity meat with great flavour that’s cooked prop­erly, how much do you re­ally need?”

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