Plant-based diet a popular way to save the planet
SUPPLIED If all Kiwis had one more meat-free day a week, we could save over…
If all Kiwis had one more meat-free day a week, we could save over 700,000 tonnes of carbon a year.
There are many things we can do to look after ourselves and Papatūānuku. One of the most impactful changes we can make is looking at what we eat and how often we eat it. Colmar Brunton’s Better Futures report 2020 reveals almost 50 per cent of Kiwis agree we need to change our diet to reduce the impact on the environment. And with one in five Aucklanders now going meat-free (or plant-based) all or most of the time, the idea seems to be catching on.
You don’t need to go full vegan or vegetarian to improve your health and the health of the planet, having just one or two additional meat-free days a week can have a big impact. For example, if all Kiwis had one more meat-free day a week, we could save over 700,000 tonnes of carbon a year, that’s like driving from Auckland to Wellington five million times (in a medium sized car).
A diet centred on plant foods lowers the risk of heart disease and benefits overall health according to information from the NZ Heart Foundation. There’s also a lot more plant-based meal inspiration these days – check out Meat Free Mondays or the Easy Choice – Family Kai recipes from Love Food Hate Waste.
Diet isn’t the only action we can take to care for the planet. Results from FutureFit – Auckland Council’s carbon footprint tool, indicates eating less meat, planning meals in advance, eating local and seasonal fruit and vegetables are amongst the most popular actions selected by users. These actions could also save your wallet – eating seasonally typically means lower prices; no courgettes at $21/kg! Unsurprisingly at the top of the list is an easy action- using your own reusable coffee cup –great from a waste-free perspective but barely contributes to reducing emissions. If you really want to reduce emissions and reduce climate impacts on future generations, what should you do?
You can start by finding out your carbon footprint using FutureFit. Carbon footprints are measured in CO2-e (carbon dioxide equivalent) – which creates a single way to measure greenhouse gases (GHGs) which cause climate change.
FutureFit provides not only your carbon footprint but also helps to identify which lifestyle changes will have the biggest impact on reducing your emissions. You can sign-up to track your progress over time, both individually, in a team with friends or workmates, or as part of the growing number of Kiwis wanting to do their bit for the environment. Over 16,000 Kiwis have already found out their footprint using FutureFit and collectively saved over 640,000 kg of carbon. Find out your footprint at FutureFit.
SAVING MONEY AND THE PLANET
Saving the planet and becoming healthier aren’t the only benefits to living more sustainably, you can save money as well. Transport is where most households can have the greatest impact – taking public transport to work instead of driving once a week could save $1618.50/year (for the average Auckland return commute of 22 km), plus will save on carbon emissions and make the air quality better. Check out Auckland Transport’s Commute Calculator which calculates cost savings for switching from driving a car to taking public transport.
If you could do with some extra cash, then reducing your energy use at home is another option with a big impact. The average household could save up to $1,000/year on power and water bills by making simple changes, for example, replacing your old showerhead with an efficient one could save up to $380/year in energy and water bills, it could also save 26,000 litres of water a year. Check out this article for more energy saving tips or book a FREE one hour visit from a certified Home Performance Advisor here (can be done virtually or in person).