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Going green; are we kidding ourselves?



The World Economic Forum in Davos for this year has been and gone. It was the 50th Annual meeting, quite a milestone, and now the global agenda has been defined for 2020. Clean energy and becoming carbon neutral were just two important items on the agenda. However, another interesting thing that should have been on that agenda is the fact that 1500 private jets were used to fly in to join the discussion about carbon neutrality. It’s nuts!



Photo Eduardo Flores


For me, this is part of the whole environmental debate that appears so two- faced. Life has become super comfortable for so many people (not all of course) that the thought of seemingly taking a step back appears to be quite a hard decision to make. If you had a private jet would you really be prepared to forgo it? By the same token would you be willing to give up your car if you lived in the country? It’s all very well talking about a climate emergency and hastily designing electric cars but isn’t it a complete revolution that we really need; and if this is a case how many of us would willingly sign up to a brand-new world order where we would tread more lightly on the planet?


Sorry, if I sound a tad cynical but it’s the end of January and it’s the time when all good intentions have more or less bitten the dust. Veganuary was good, but so was the burger and chips I had out at a pub with friends, drinking less was a good idea but….. and my diet, well, maybe in the summer? Hmnn, must try harder is my thought.


I can’t also help thinking, how do we really get on board and become truly committed to transforming our consumption, our way of life and putting the planet first? Will it ever happen and make the difference we so desperately need?


That’s me on a bad day, but I am actually quite heartened when I look at the changes that are occurring. I guess it’s a bit like wanting to lose weight immediately when it’s taken two or three years to pile it on in the first place. It’s all very well to read the media frenzy about the climate emergency, crisis, drama or whatever emotive term grabs eyeballs but honestly, I think it’s going to take a long time to transform how we live.


However, things are happening. Genetic modification is working on making soy taste like meat as it grows, which is an interesting concept. Yes, and some of our habits are changing slowly. Fifty years ago, being vegan or drinking plant-based milks was considered niche to say the least. As I regularly talk with companies in the food and drink industry, I understand that the pace of innovation is really quite rapid. Certainly, employees are expected to be creative, forward-thinking, agile and adaptable because nothing can be taken for granted. Who could have seen that pork sausages were being replaced by chicken as a best seller? Who would have predicted that veganism in the UK is destined to rise by 327% by the end of 2020?


Finder.com asked 2000 people to contribute to their research around veganism. Their survey demonstrated that approximately 700 000 people are Vegan at present in the UK. However, over the next twelve months that figure is likely to rise to 2.2 million. That is quite a shift. Yet before we get excited it is worth considering just how ‘hungry’ vegan, plant-based ingredients are with respect to the planet. Will swapping from cow’s milk to almond make the right kind of a difference?



Photo George Evans


This is what bugs me; it’s very difficult to live with a very light carbon footprint as nothing is as simple to fix as one might hope. All I can suggest is the food and drink industry maintains its extraordinary level of innovation and keep helping us to make the changes that obviously need making before it’s too late. We need help for sure but that’s no reason not to try, I guess. Maybe mindfulness is what we need to adopt. Perhaps we should think twice about the amount we eat, vary our diets, look at labels, be political in our food and drink choices and consume less. It’s a start. What’s your opinion?