The “climate” diet encourages cutting out beef and lamb. The original movement is based on the premise that eliminating these ruminants reduces carbon emissions. The founders claim that beef and lamb leave a larger carbon footprint.
Being climate conscious involves more than just choosing one key point, such as carbon, and one comet, such as ruminants. is being Climate consciousone must take into account the whole environment of food production and take into account all the elements and the interaction between man, plant and animal.
It is an interesting movement because it traces its roots to Australia, a country that is economically dependent on beef and lamb both locally and for export. The red meat industry in Australia contributes more than 15.6 billion Canadian dollars annually to the gross domestic product. And with large areas of the country often experiencing droughts, the use of animals to stabilize the soil is crucial.
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In many areas of the world, the introduction of ruminants has increased biodiversity when the intersection between animal and plant is understood.
Ruminants can enhance root strength when they are managed to graze over the crown of the plant. This leaves powerful carbon-capture units in healthy water-retaining roots and in leaves remaining above ground for photosynthesis, with dung contributing valuable nutrients.
When an error occurs the wheels fall off the bus.
Overgrazing, water pollution and complete deforestation are the culprits in what would otherwise be a balanced existence contributing to its isolation.
Grazing animals and land restoration can be managed with appropriate knowledge and practices. For inhabited and foraged animals, the goal is to contribute equally back to the soil for the growth of plants needed for nutrition and to close the loop in terms of production practices, such as treating water for reuse.
The alternative basic principle of the Climate Diet is to eat less impactful meat and use all parts of the meat to avoid food waste. That brings us back to the farm where this is still common, with full use of the animal from oxtail to cheese.
However, the promotion of whole carcass use does not translate into a general appreciation of the taste and texture of some foods and many people do not receive training in the use of the whole carcass. In fact, Canadians often stay with what’s familiar, the same cuts in the same package that are disposed of in the same way.
There are a variety of cultures in this world including those in which financial and religious needs influence choices. It is difficult and culturally inappropriate to promote a diet for the general public when there are so many who depend on access to red meat (head to tail) for survival and nutrition. Not everyone enjoys the privileges and has access to affordable food options.
When it comes to food waste, advocates of the diet focus on using animal parts, but the majority of food waste in Canada occurs “on the plate.”
It is all food that is discarded after it is prepared in homes, and all places where food is eaten. In other parts of the world, it may be different and many countries experience food waste in the field or in transportation due to lack of infrastructure or interruptions due to conflict.
No matter where food is wasted, there is a need for political and public awareness and training that works toward the goal of changing policies and behaviour.
The intake of highly tolerant crops in the climate diet is also promoted, but there is little information available to tell consumers what a drought tolerant food crop looks like. The truth is that on a vegan diet, people still often focus on food options like leafy greens, which consume lots of water and do little to sequester carbon due to their short life.
As an alternative, there is a renewed interest in perennials, the original source of plant life on Earth. It is something worth considering in terms of carbon sequestration and soil and water health, but it will be challenging in terms of seed detection and production reduction in the first two years.
If there is one aspect of the climate diet that can be used immediately (and is a major influence on future food availability and affordability), it is to encourage local purchase.
For those who live in the outback, the seasons may be local and local food from Canada, while other parts of the country can access food from their local area almost year-round.
The premise in local buying is to shorten the food supply chain, right from product to dish. If the focus of the climate diet is on carbon emissions, start there.
Buying locally is the first and most powerful way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So encourage shorter supply chains, revitalize cultural preferences, grow local economies, inspire future food policy and influence retailers to offer fresh and processed local produce.
True climate awareness begins with purchasing power at home.
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