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Veg out this January… and help the environment too

January is always a time for a new start, fresh perspectives and a renewed outlook; and many of us are heading into 2019 with our New Year’s resolutions front of mind. Though some resolutions have the tendency to fall fast by the wayside, some can help us make a real personal and lasting change.

The popularity of Veganuary, the charity encouraging people to go vegan for the whole of January, is a case in point. Since starting five years ago the number of people signing up to Veganuary has soared in popularity. Veganism in the UK has seen a huge swell too, skyrocketing from just over half a million people in 2016 to 3.5 million last year – 7% of the population.

A climate of change

Motives for becoming a vegan and adopting a plant-based diet are hugely varied but concerns over CO2 emissions and climate change play a significant factor. The recently announced “planetary health diet” – developed by a group of international scientists – has been specifically designed to reduce damage to the environment. By putting an onus on reducing your meat intake and upping fruit and vegetables the diet cuts down the greenhouse gas impact of the meat and dairy industries, whilst improving individual health. It also helps prevent the 11 million people currently dying each year from poor diets and will help to feed an estimated 10 billion people by 2050 as the global population grows.

Think global, act local

But what else can we be doing to help reduce our collective impact on the environment and our personal carbon footprint? As is often the case we can actually be doing a lot at a local level and, you guessed it, there’s an app for that!

Olio is a sharing community that connects neighbours with one another so surplus food can be shared and not thrown away. The self-professed ‘Waste Warriors’ at Too Good to Go connect users with local restaurants that are throwing out perfectly edible food at the end of the day. Saving meals like this reduces food waste and cuts down CO2, whilst supporting local businesses and giving the user a cheap eat in the process. Finally, the traditional veg box has been given a fresh revamp by subscription company Oddbox. The company cuts waste by saving all the fruit and veg grown by local farmers that’s too wonky by supermarket standards and delivers it direct to your door at a fair price.

January may soon be over, but that doesn’t mean that our good intentions need to go too. The rise in veganism and plant-based diets, along with increased awareness of our role in climate change and keenness to reduce food waste, shows we’re collectively taking more responsibility in saving the planet for current, but more importantly, future generations.

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