Whilst the ‘meat and two-veg’ dinner was a staple for older generations, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. With vegan diets having a low carbon, water and ecological footprint, mother nature can breathe a sigh of relief. For some however, a full-time plant based diet just isn’t feasible.
Can’t bear the thought of never having a steak again? Fine. Helping the planet doesn’t have to be a total lifestyle overhaul. Rather than this ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking, focus on making small manageable changes that will eventually become habitual, whether that is swapping dairy for oat milk or opting for chickpeas over chicken in your curry. Small consistent changes by thousands of people all help to reduce our impact on the planet, preserving its resourses for future generations to enjoy.
Whilst many individuals are reducing their footprint on the planet, large corporations hide their damaging behaviour behind environmental marketing ploys. A 2019 report revealed that just 20 fossil fuel companies, the likes of Shell and Exxon, were directly linked to over one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s not allow the famous twitter poll posted by Shell in 2020 to slip our minds. The $379 billion dollar company asked twitter members what they would be ‘willing to change to help reduce emissions’. Astounding! Despite shell contributing 31.95 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere since 1965, their PR team are on a greenwashing mission, attempting to shift the blame from company to consumer.
Whilst recycling, reducing meat intake and using public transport are all great ways to contribute to the fight against climate change, such attempts are fruitless when corporations continue to evade blame for their continued role in the climate crisis. Fossil fuel companies, and the governments allowing their practices to continue, must be forced to take accountability and change their practices for the benefit of the planet. So keep supporting that climate activist group, vote for that MP who is passionate about climate change and attend that earth day protest. If we want to protect our planet, we need hold the companies at the top to the same standard that we hold our vegan friend to at McDonald’s after a night out.
With the climate crisis reaching breaking point, we need to examine how we can make environmentally friendly habits that will benefit the planet long-term. More importantly, we must hold large corporations and governments accountable for their role in the climate crisis. We, as the younger generation must ensure that we are taking action with our votes, our workplace power and our voices to rally for real change, so that our sons and daughters have a place to call home on planet earth.