There are two great incentives to eat less meat this month as new exhibition Meat The Future at Oxford University Museum of Natural History gives its visitors serious food for thought, especially with Damien Hirst’s famous Cain and Abel (1994) artwork of two calves suspended in formaldehyde solution on site.
Ans secondly, Switch Up Your Lunch for climate change urges you to eat a veggie or vegan lunch on Monday June 14.
The annual Switch Up Your Lunch veg pledge campaign invites organisations across the county to “eat to beat climate change” and Ox In A Box has already signed up!
“The University of Oxford estimates that if all its students and staff had a plant based lunch it could save as much as 45 tonnes of greenhouse gases every day”
Which means at lunchtime on June 14, thousands of people will be joining the Switch Up Your Lunch campaign by eating a vegetarian or vegan lunch. All local workplaces, businesses, organisations and individuals can sign up with a pledge on the campaign website.
Bart Ashton, Bursar at Lady Margaret Hall explains: “Across the university nearly 40% of meals sold to staff and students are now plant based, but it’s a conversation that we should keep having. The chance to connect with people across the county on June 14 is a great opportunity to remind our own community why this is so important. The University of Oxford estimates that if all its students and staff had a plant based lunch it could save as much as 45 tonnes of greenhouse gases every day – personal choices matter, so #SwitchUpYourLunch.”
As for Meat The Future, the exhibition looks at how the production and consumption of animal products affect people and the planet and hopes to provoke conversation.
Professor Sir Charles Godfray, Co-Director of LEAP, Professor of Population Biology, and Director of the Martin School at the University of Oxford said: “With a population likely to peak above nine billion this century, Meat the Future asks how we square our growing demand for meat with the needs of the planet. An unavoidable conclusion is that we, in the rich world, need to reduce our per capita meat consumption, and this exhibition explores some of the ways that we, both as individuals and collectively, can make changes to our diets, as well as highlighting some of the difficult issues around making this a fair and just transition.”
Meat The Future also presents cutting edge research on the environmental and health impacts of eating meat, and offers visitors a variety of alternatives, from simply eating less meat to adopting high-tech alternatives.
The museum’s brand-new café, Eat the Future, will be trialling an innovative eco-labelling scheme and a new touring installation Meat Your Personai, designed to get the UK talking about eating meat, its environmental impact, and how much is meat is actually good for you is touring from Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle and Blackpool.
Produced in partnership with Oxford University’s LEAP research programme, funded by the Wellcome Trust, Professor Susan Jebb, Co-Director of LEAP and Professor of Diet and Population Health at the University of Oxford says: “This exhibition presents up-to-date research, as well as a range of the most likely solutions from simple meat reduction, to high-tech meat replacements, to help us all think more deeply about what we eat and how it is produced.”
Meat The Future runs until January and is free to visit. For more information, head to http://www.oumnh.ox.ac.uk
Which means the Switch Up Your Lunch campaign is perfectly timed. Supported by Oxfordshire Greentech, Good Food Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council, the Women in Sustainability Network and the Low Carbon Hub, the campaign aims to show that eating more vegetables and less and better meat and dairy is not just healthier and better for the planet but can also be delicious, fun and enjoyable.
Organisations and individuals who sign up to the pledge are encouraged to use the hashtag #SwitchUpYourLunch on social media before and throughout the day on 14th June, sharing photos of their meals.
Ness Scott, Climate Change Manager at West Oxfordshire District Council said: “With 26% of all global greenhouse-gas emissions coming from food, it’s not something we should ignore. Cutting down on meat and dairy, and swapping them for plant-based meals, is also a great way of getting our five a day – so it’s a campaign that’s good for us too!
Nina Osswald, Co-ordinator at the local food partnership Good Food Oxford adds: “If we all commit to eating a lot more veg and choosing better quality meat and dairy, less frequently, we can make a big difference to our overall impact on climate change. Furthermore, it tastes delicious, can be healthier and cost less.”
Hannah Scott, Communications and Members Manager, Oxfordshire Greentech, a founding partner of the #SwitchUpYourLunch initiative, says: As an organisation 100% committed to a zero-carbon transition in Oxfordshire, we know that #SwitchUpYourLunch is a crucial piece of the puzzle in shifting people’s behaviours to become more sustainable, especially around the tricky topic of food.”
Pledges can be made at goodfoodoxford.org/switchupyourlunch where participants can also get helpful tips for veggie cooking and eating.