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Program Information
The Low Carbon Show
How eating less meat and dairy dramatically reduces you impact on the planet
Weekly Program
Nigel Winter (CEO, Vegan Society), Dr Stephen Walsh (nutritional advisor, Vegan Society), Justin Kerswell (Viva!), Tim Yaoh (Bristol Vegan Fayre)
 Climate Radio  Contact Contributor
A recent UN report reveals that livestock are responsible for 18% of global emissions - more than the entire transport sector. We visit the largest vegan fayre in the world to find out more.
Programme produced by Phil England for Climate Radio.
Please drop me an email to let me know if you rebroadcast this programme: phil [at]
This week we visit what claims to be the biggest vegan fayre in the world - Bristol Vegan Fayre.

It's looking increasingly likely, that the biggest single thing you can do as an individual to cut your carbon footprint is to eat less meat and dairy products.

When we interviewed our carbon guru Chris Goodall a few weeks back he calculated that about two tonnes of an individual's 12 tonne annual carbon footprint is down to the food and drink we consume. And because the UK imports something like 50% of our food, that figure could in reality be twice as much - as much as four tonnes of CO2 per year.

There are many ways we can reduce the impact of the food we eat by changing our purchasing habits. We can buy, local, seasonal, organic foods that aree unprocessed and contain the least amount of packaging.

But the most significant thing we can do by far is to eat less meat and dairy produce. It's thought that up to 60% of the greenhouse gases that it takes to produce our food and drink can be reduced by moving to a plant-based diet.

A major report published at the end of last year by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation provided the stongest case for this to date. It also suggests that livestock are at the heart of many of the other environmental problems facing the planet. I picked up the story with the Vegan Society's Chief Executive, Nigel Winter.

In an email leaked to Vegetarian and Vegan campaign group Viva, says that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is considering recommending eating less meat and dairy as one of the "key environmental behaviour changes" needed to combat global warming. But the environment Agency says that the message needs to be introduced "gently as there is a risk of alienating the public majority." Justin Kerswell from Viva told me that Viva were concerned about the hand of big business, stifling this important message. Could environmental protection at such a critical point in history be being sacrificed by the government at the altar of vested interests? We speak to Justin Kerswell of Viva!

The Vegan Society's chief nutritional advisor Dr Stephen Walsh was also giving a talk at the Bristol Vegan Fayre. Bearing mind a lot of the official nutritional advice now coming seems to support the move to a more plant based diet, I asked him, whether there was any clear evidence that there were health benefits from eating less meat and dairy.


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00:29:36 1 June 12, 2007
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