Happy Friday, Food Rebels!
Today we’re talking about being perfect – and none of us are.
No matter how good our intentions, every action we make has an environmental impact somewhere.
Every item that we eat, drink or generally consume must have had an impact somewhere along the line.
These impacts are very often negative. They range from masses of water being used in production to deforestation to transportation pollution all the way through to animal cruelty.
With that being said, it’s almost impossible to have no impact at all. So what can we do?
Well, if we accept the two core facts that:
A) every action will have an impact
B) we’re not perfect
then it stands to reason that we can
A) lower the negative impact of any action we take
B) always seek to improve
There are many ways we can do this of course, and in today’s post we’ll focus on one simple change – swapping dairy milk for oat milk.
There are SO MANY BENEFITS to doing that! It’s almost unreal.
This massive study on 38,700 farms by The University of Oxford has a lot to say on the matter.
And the general gist is this: even the worst plant products are better for the environment than the best animal products in terms of environmental impact.
That on its own is huge. And if we go a bit deeper, we can see the truly stark differences between products, such as oat milk vs dairy milk.
There are various metrics we can use when measuring environmental impacts. Let’s focus on three for now: water use, land use and emissions.
Using the climate change calculator from the BBC, we can see each metric broken down easily.
Water: getting any type of milk requires a substantial amount of water to be used. Drinking (or using) one glass of oat milk every day for a year will require 3,512 litres of water (equivalent to 54 eight-minute showers). That’s quite a lot.
But drinking (or using) one glass of dairy milk every day for a year would require a staggering 45,733 litres of water (equivalent to 703 eight-minute showers). Let that difference sink in for a minute.
Emissions: a glass of oat milk every day will require 65kg of greenhouse gas to be emitted each year (equivalent to driving a petrol car 168 miles or 270km).
But a glass of dairy milk every day will require 229kg of greenhouse gasses (equivalent to driving a petrol car 585 miles or 941km).
Land: A glass of dairy milk every day adds up to 652m² land being used – equal to the space of two tennis courts.
The land used for producing a glass of oat milk every day was too small to be measured on the calculator.
We have to remember these figures are just from one glass of milk a day for one person. Think about how much we need to consume every day, and how many of us there are. The numbers are mind-boggling.
This quote from the BBC article pretty much sums everything up: “Their findings showed that meat and other animal products are responsible for more than half of food-related greenhouse gas emissions, despite providing only a fifth of the calories we eat and drink.“
It’s clear that things have to change – and we need to be a part of that. It doesn’t always feel easy though. Let’s take milk as an example again.
You’re so used to milk in your coffee that oat milk just doesn’t taste the same. I know, I’ve been there!
Try half and half to begin with. You’ll soon get used to it and you’re still halving your dairy milk impact.
Or perhaps you have cheese every morning for breakfast. Make it every second day.
Again you’re making such a difference without making things so unrealistic for yourself that you go back to your old ways within a week.
Talking of swapping out cheese, milk and other dairy products – a quick look at the nutritional studies show it is an absolute minefield.
Even trying to answer the question ‘is milk bad for us?’ changes with new information every day. But it’s certainly bad for the environment.
And one thing is for certain – we can reduce animal cruelty. That is nothing less than an absolute win.
Small steps are still steps, and each one we take makes a difference – especially if we all do it!
It can seem daunting – here’s what the study had to say:
“Communicating average product impacts to consumers enables dietary change and should be pursued. Though dietary change is realistic for any individual, widespread behavioral change will be hard to achieve in the narrow timeframe remaining to limit global warming and prevent further, irreversible biodiversity loss. Communicating producer impacts allows access to the second scenario, which multiplies the effects of smaller consumer changes.”
They’re right – but that’s where we come in! Every single change we make from an animal product to a plant product has an impact. And we’re the ones responsible for it.
Now it’s time to check out our Recipes For Future! Instead of our usual ‘Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for Future’ recipes, we’re going for something slightly different this time’.
Each of these tasty recipes is more than excellent when made with oat or soy or almond milk instead on dairy. Try them for yourself!
Oats for Future
Overnight Oats – Delish Every Time!Check out the recipe here
Breakfast Pudding for Future!
Chia Breakfast PuddingCheck out the recipe here
Chocolate for Future!
Cashew Milkshake – Chocolate StyleCheck out the recipe here
What difference can one individual make? A lot! Do your part, spread the word and we’ll get there! It might take a while, but every small step is still a step. We’ve got this!
By the way – to stay up to date with Recipes for Future just sign up for the email newsletter below and you’ll be first in line for all the latest news!
Last week we talked about eliminating takeaway waste in Recipes for Future. You can see that post right here.