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News Blog Articles This Earth Day, reap what you sow – and no, I’m not talking about tree planting

This Earth Day, reap what you sow – and no, I’m not talking about tree planting

April 21st, 2016

Call me sentimental, but one of my favourite things to do on Earth  Day is to gather my favourite people and treat them to a home cooked,  candlelit dinner. My hope for each year’s meal is that we slow down and  enjoy some beautiful food, company and conversation about how we can  ensure our inspiring planet is around to nurture us for generations to  come.tree-trunk-569275_1920https://safenewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/tree-trunk-569275_1920.jpg?w=652&h=434 652w, https://safenewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/tree-trunk-569275_1920.jpg?w=150&h=100 150w, https://safenewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/tree-trunk-569275_1920.jpg?w=300&h=200 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 326px) 100vw, 326px” width=”326″ height=”217″>

The 22nd of April will mark the 46th official Earth Day. While the  call for this year is to plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth, to  divest from fossil fuels and to make cities 100% renewable, there’s  something much simpler we all can do to honour the planet.

Each year I plan a menu that intentionally treads lightly on our  world and is kind to the other species that call it home. And, I’m not  the only one who thinks that the way we eat can have profound planetary  consequences.

Just last month a striking new study calculated the reduction in  planetary greenhouse gases (and the health benefits for individuals)  that are within our grasp if we shift away from our meat-centric diets.  Eating more plant-based foods on a global scale could cut out 29 to 70 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to food by 2050 – plus, it could  save millions of (human) lives and billions of dollars each year. Not  to mention reducing the immense suffering and death of billions of  animals.

The study did not account for the beneficial impacts of dietary change on avoided deforestation,  meaning that the reductions in greenhouse gases and the overall  positive environmental impact of changing our diets could be even  higher.new-zealand-647090_1920https://safenewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/new-zealand-647090_1920.jpg?w=734&h=488 734w, https://safenewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/new-zealand-647090_1920.jpg?w=150&h=100 150w, https://safenewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/new-zealand-647090_1920.jpg?w=300&h=200 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 367px) 100vw, 367px” width=”367″ height=”244″>

While the findings of this recent Oxford study quantify the potential  benefits, we’ve known for a long-time that animal agriculture casts a long shadow on our planet’s wellbeing. Political, industrial and cultural barriers  to adopting a diet that cuts out animal products persist; but this Earth  Day, I challenge you to take what might seem a massive leap by making  different choices, one meal at a time.

It’s not about giving up on what you love to eat; rather it’s about  inviting love to motivate the choices you make. Perhaps you’ll draw  motivation from an aspiration to be healthier (plant-based diets have  been shown to cut your risk, and even reverse the effects, of chronic  conditions like heart disease, stroke and cancer); or from a desire to  be kinder to animals, or maybe the beauty of this planet will inspire  you to safeguard it so generations to come can experience its riches.vegetable-1167363_1920https://safenewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/vegetable-1167363_1920.jpg?w=708&h=468 708w, https://safenewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/vegetable-1167363_1920.jpg?w=150&h=99 150w, https://safenewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/vegetable-1167363_1920.jpg?w=300&h=199 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 354px) 100vw, 354px” width=”354″ height=”234″>

Whatever your motivation, if you do take this leap you may find that  you look back (as many of us have) and see that it wasn’t quite the  chasm you expected.

If you’re curious and ready to explore, start your own Earth Day  tradition with friends and family. Put thought and purpose behind what  you put on the table (and I’m not talking about candlelight). There are  heaps of delicious animal-friendly recipes to tempt you on the SAFE website.

Ready to do more? There’s also 30 days of support and advice available if you sign up for SAFE’s Go Veg Challenge. It’s not only the best way to help animals, it’s the single greatest thing you can do for our planet, too.  Check out our Go Veg site for more information.

Jennifer Riley

Campaign Coordinator (Go Veg)

 

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