A new report from the WWF calls on people across the UK to make a promise for the planet after this Earth Hour, 8.30pm, Saturday, 24 March. Promising to become a ‘flexitarian’ and eat more sustainably by cutting back on meat, fish and dairy can help future-proof out best-loved dishes, and reduce our overall impact on the planet.
The UK’s best-loved dishes as we know them could be under threat as soon as 2050 as a direct result of climate change. Research found that favourites including chicken tikka masala, fish and chips, the cheese ploughman’s and lamb cawl (Welsh lamb stew) may taste different, need substitute ingredients and cost more in the future, as climate change could threaten the supply of the key ingredients required to make up these dishes.
The report also calculated the environmental costs of these dishes today, given that around 20% of the UK’s greenhouse emissions are attributed to food production. The cheese ploughman’s was revealed to contribute more to climate change than the fish and chips or chicken tikka masala. In fact, the simple cheese, pickle and bread dish created 2.6kg CO2 in greenhouse gas emissions to produce, the equivalent of charging a smartphone 316 times, boiling a kettle 113 times or keeping an LED lightbulb switched on for 28 whole days.
- Chickens to be fed on alternative feeds such as insects and algae
- Rice prices to rise by a third
- Higher prices for tomatoes due to extreme rainfall and heatwaves
- Substitutions of anchovies for cod, as warmer oceans cause those species to displace cod populations
- Cheese production affected due to heat stress on dairy herds and resulting impact on milk production
The threat to these classic dishes shows that climate change could impact every aspect of our lives in future if we don’t act now. That’s why this Earth Hour we’re asking you to eat more sustainably. If each of us takes a small action, together we can combat climate change and future-proof our best-loved dishes.
Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Energy and Climate at WWF commented: “The threat to these classic dishes just shows that climate change could impact every aspect of our lives in future if we don’t act now. That’s why this Earth Hour we want people to eat more sustainably. That doesn’t necessarily mean going vegan or vegetarian – it means each of us cutting back on the amount of fish, meat and dairy we eat. If each of us takes a small action, together we can combat climate change and future-proof our best-loved dishes.”
To help the UK public eat more sustainably, WWF is supporting the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s One Planet Plate initiative. From the day of Earth Hour, a thousand restaurants across the UK will serve up their own take on a sustainable meal, with the aim of raising awareness of the issues our planet is facing, and demonstrating how varied and delicious a sustainable meal can be. Chefs involved include Skye Gyngell, Tom Hunt and Raymond Blanc OBE, and high street restaurants including Wahaca, Carluccio’s and Jamie’s Italian.
For more information and to make your #PromiseForThePlanet, visit www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour.