Could You Go Climatarian?


Climate change is probably not uppermost in your mind as you stuff your face, but there is now a diet that benefits not only your health but also the planet. Might you consider going climatarian?

What it is

This diet was devised by Climates, a social networking website for people wishing to strive against climate change. It is claimed that following the climatarian diet will save as much as a ton of CO2 per person per year, and there’s no need to go herbivore.

Why it is

The reason is that reducing beef and lamb intake could have a dramatic effect on the carbon footprint of your food, which leaves pork, poultry and fish. The diet also recommends against partaking of air-freighted or frozen food, instead choosing fresh, local and seasonal produce.

Biba Hartigan, the founder of Climates, explained that beef and lamb have around fivefold more climate impact than pork or poultry, although research by Oxford University found it be be even worst than that. Even more frighteningly, “Food overall causes up to 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, so this simple change can have a big impact – and cutting down on red meat is good for your health, too.”

Climates tells that every lb of beef has as much effect on the climate as 24lbs of wheat. To go climatarian, you consult the website for its shopping guide and environmentally-friendly recipes such as chicken and sweet pepper lasagne, climate-friendly bolognese and spicy pork cottage pie.

Even forgetting that livestock production is responsible for more greenhouse gases than every car, bus, plane and train put together, as Friends of the Earth has pointed out, intensive meat production consumes vast quantities of raw materials including land, petrol and water while encouraging deforestation, waste generation and loss of biodiversity. There’s also the small matter of livestock emitting much methane: in the case of cows, 110 gallons a day each, of which a negligible one percent is farts and the rest, belches. Methane is a greenhouse gas 30 times worse than carbon dioxide.

Climatarianism in action

It’s possible to make a difference. The Otto Group, whose activities include retail, finance, travel and logistics, instituted Project Climate Dish, where a climatarian dish is offered on one day a week at three of the canteens at the company’s headquarters in Hamburg-Bramfeld in Germany. With up to 3,500 meals sold at these locations every day, this has reduced CO2 emissions by about 200 tons since the programme was introduced in 2011. At the same time, canteen customers are informed about the effect of food on climate change both in person and through literature, while activities such as competitions are promoted.

About the Author Timothy Chilman

Timothy Chilman used to work in IT. Once, in Sydney, he was turned down for a job because he was “too flamboyant” (“Someone who wears green tartan suspenders to a job interview probably isn’t going to fit in here”). Timothy then became an English teacher. University students in Bangkok complained that he was “too enthusiastic” and company students in Prague complained that he was “too theatrical.”

Leave a Comment:

Matthew Bryan says December 23, 2015

This is a great initiative! It is good to empower people and give them practical solutions. I’ll do what I can to support you!

Laura Hall says May 22, 2017

That’s really interesting! I think making the effects of eating meat etc on the environment more visible is important to making real changes. The food industry is rather secretive (particularly with regards to meat production) so knowing the mileage your food has done is a huge step to making people more aware of their meal’s footprint. The ability to actually know a rough estimate of the emissions you’ve saved is more tangible and achievable for those who’d like to be more environmentally conscious but skeptical/unwilling to become vegan. Great concept!

Adam Abdul-Latif says June 13, 2021

I have applied to pursue MPhil Climate change at University of science and Natural resource

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