Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Flexitarian Bristol

This year my home city of Bristol is the European Green Capital.  It's the first time a UK city had been chosen.

Friends of the Earth Bristol are campaigning for Bristolians to make it a Flexitarian city.

Flexitarians choose to eat less and better meat with a richer variety of plant based food.  So for example, going meat free 3 days a week and then choosing local organic and free range the rest of the week.

The statistics are staggering:

For each day you go meat free, you reduce your water footprint by 1,300 litres.

Livestock account for 14.5% of all global emissions - more than all transport emmissions

80% of Amazon deforestation is attributable to livestock feed or grazing

When I spent 7 weeks travelling around Columbia, huge amounts of the land had been cleared for cattle.  It was shocking.

Bristol is already leading the way with a great food culture. As part of Green Capital, FOE want to green our palates by reducing the harmful impacts of high meat, fish and dairy consumption.

Being a Flexitarian city would be great because:

There would be more diversity of veggie food in restaurants
It will reduce transport emissions

It is healthier for you with half the population eating more than the recommended 70g of red or processed meat.  With less meat eaten, rates of heart decease, cancer and obesity would go down.

Switching to local, higher welfare producers the situation for animals and farmers will improve

I am already vegetarian but am planning to be vegan 3 days a week, after we get back from our East Africa trip over the summer.

Here are a few of my issues with farming methods used here and abroad :

Dairy cows repeatedly having calves so that they keep in milk
Huge udders almost touching the ground from being overmilked
Calfs taken away from mothers at a young age
Male calves cruelly produced for veal
The huge amount of land needed for grazing that is kept all the same and useless for wildlife
Caged chickens
Animals kept locked up
GMO feed given to dairy cows, pigs and chickens
Badgers killed because of apparent impact on cows farming
Foxes killed because of apparent impact on chickens and lambs
Wildflower meadows cut in early summer before pollinators finished with them

What are FOE going to do:
Flexitarian Award to increase number of restaurants that offer veggie food
Educating and supporting people
Campaigning for public money to be spent on sustainable food 
Getting meat agenda on the council agenda
Collaborating with small scale producers

For more information - 

About the Writer

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig 

Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She is looking forward to going Mountain Gorilla Trekking in East Africa in the summer and watching Penguins in Antarctica in December 2015, which will be her 7th continent. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter

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