Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Overeating, food waste, obesity and climate change.

It is well documented that the beef and dairy industries contribute to rising level of atmospheric greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane and these increases are responsible for the planet's current Climate Emergency.  Eating a plant based diet (vegan) will do a huge amount to reduce CO2 and methane emissions but this alone will not save the world as some vegans will have you believe. It is not as simple as switching your beef burger for a veggie burger and to truly tackle Climate Change we need to make major changes to how we produce and prepare our food and we need to tackle one main issue urgently:

The world's population over-eats and/or wastes way too much food

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) states that the average kilocalorie (kcal) consumption per person in the US is 3,800 calories.1  Whilst differences in gender, age and activity levels will alter the exact amount each person should consume, on average daily consumption should be around 1,800 -2,150 kcal.

Not all these calories are eaten. These are figures for kcals entering the household and a good chunk of these will be food that is wasted, food that is never eaten and gets thrown out either before or after preparation.  From an environmental point of view it doesn't really matter if the kcals are eaten in excess or wasted - they have still been produced over and above what is needed.  CO2 and methane will have been added to the atmosphere for no reason, materials wasted in packaging and energy expended in production, transportation, refrigeration, cooking etc.  All WASTED.

And it is not just the US. Of the 172 countries listed in the report 1, 152 have a population that is consuming on average more than 2,150 kcal per person per day.  The UK average is 3,450 (20th in the world) and France is 3,530 (12th).

This has not always been the case and back in the 1850s kcal intake was much lower.  Whilst there has always been some people throughout history who have over-consumed the most rapid increase globally has been seen in the last 50 years and it is estimated to only get worse especially as developing countries become more affluent and industrialised. Look at the rapid increase in kcal intake in China since 1950.

Fig. 1 Food consumption in the US, France, UK and China (1800 - 2013) 2

The above figures are taken from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The World Health Organization has looked at recent figures since 1964 as can be seen below.  This time the figures only include eaten food, not food wasted.  Add in wasted food at today's levels and the figures would be even higher for 2015 and the future estimations.

Fig. 2 Global and regional food consumption per person (kcal per person per day) 3

Estimated for 2030
Industrialised Countries
Developing Countries

We are living in a world where on average many people are consuming (eating or wasting) TWICE the amount of kcals they need which leads to a large amount of unnecessary environmental damage - increased CO2 and methane levels, more landfill, more packaging, more energy use etc.  It is leading to increasing levels of obesity which itself has an impact on the environment - larger people need larger clothes, their cars use more fuel and they are more likely to suffer health problems with the associated treatments having an impact on the environment (medication, sterile packaging, hospital stays etc etc).

This is not sustainable but obesity is not an easy subject to tackle.

Overeating and obesity are emotive subjects.  People will give you any number of reasons why they eat what they do and will often say it is their right to eat what the want. Sophie Hagen, a Danish comedian, has recently talked about how she is happy with her weight and fat should not be seen as bad.4 In one way she is right - no-one has a right to categorise a fat person as a bad person, no more than a person who drives a diesel car is a bad person or someone who leaves all their electrical items on is a bad person - but being fat, like driving a diesel car or wasting electricity are all bad for the environment.  The bottom line is that our population as a whole needs to completely change the way we eat to bring food consumption back to a sustainable level - a diet for life where overeating and food waste are a thing of the past.  

If everyone were to eat the right level of calories and from nutrient rich "real" food (not heavily processed) and were to not waste food we would see a reduction in environmental damage (greenhouse gas emissions, packaging, energy usage).  Sophie also talks about the fact that being thin in associated with beautiful and fat is associated with being ugly, lazy, stupid and bad.  This has to stop.  Body size and beauty should never be connected and Sophie is right about not categorising fat people as bad because castigation is never the right way to go about addressing an issue, what-ever that issue is.  Tell people to stop overeating is like telling people to not think about lump of lard.  You're thinking about a lump of lard aren't you, now?  Negativity needs to be replaced with positive messages.

Our planet cannot support an increasing population that also overeats.  We no longer have the luxury of being able to eat what we want, whenever we want to.  Our diets have to change. Now instead of NOT thinking about that lump of lard how about thinking of all the positives about not overeating - less money spent of food, better health prospects ... and less environmental impact.

We live in a world where it is not politically correct to call people fat or obese or anything that specifically draws attention to their weight.  But their size is often a result of overeating so for the sake of the planet, let's concentrate on that term - overeating. Let's make overeating the bad guy, not being fat.

I will outline in a later post ways the world can become sustainable with regard to the food we all eat.  In the meantime can I ask if you had previously connected how much food you eat or waste with Climate Change and would you be willing to change what and how much you eat for the benefit of the planet?

How overeating contributes to climate change


1. List of countries by food energy intake:

2. Food per Person:

3. Global and regional food consumption patterns and trends:

4. Sophie Hagen: Fat is a neutral word - I want us to reclaim it

Monday, 6 May 2019

Going Green #27 - May 2019

Welcome to Going Green. This is the place to promote all your green, sustainable, environmental, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade, ethical etc posts ... basically any post that helps or inspires readers to preserve and improve our beautiful world. If you are not sure what subjects would be good or need some ideas have a look here where you'll find all the details about the linky here: Going Green Linky.

Petition Overload??

I don't seem to be able to look at my social media accounts at the moment without seeing a post from some-one promoting a petition.  I actually have a subject I think may be helped by another petition but I do wonder if we are all suffering from Petition Fatigue.  What you you think?  Would you singn another environmentally themed petition?

Saturday, 4 May 2019

20 Brilliant Rhubarb Recipes

I love rhubarb and we grow loads at Eco-Gites of Lenault.  Crumble is a perennial favourite but each year I try to find some new ways to serve this vegetable we always think of as a fruit.  In case you are in need of some inspiration I have put together a range of ideas you might like to try.

20 Brilliant Rhubarb Recipes

- Puddings and Cakes -

1. Strawberry rhubarb crumble from Erin at Oregon Girl around the World is a crumble variation pairing strawberries with rhubarb.

20 Brilliant Rhubarb recipes

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Helping kids to save the world through Gardening

Gardening with children will almost invariably instill in them a love for nature and a desire to protect the natural world. They will also have a greater understanding of where their food comes from and what it means to eat seasonally. Even if you don't have a big garden - in fact even if you don't have a garden at all - you can still do gardening with children.  Here's 15 ideas to get you started:

 15 great ways to get gardening with kids

Monday, 1 April 2019

Going Green #26 - April 2019

Welcome to Going Green.  This is the place to promote all your green, sustainable, environmental, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade, ethical etc posts ... basically any post that helps or inspires readers to preserve and improve our beautiful world.  If you are not sure what subjects would be good or need some ideas have a look here where you'll find all the details about the linky >>> Going Green Linky.

A Green and Rosie Life and Brexit (sorry)

I am still struggling to find much time to blog at the moment with a lot of  real life stuff having to take precedence, one of which is Brexit.  Sorry to bring it up here but protecting the UK environment has always been very high on my agenda and I am concerned it will suffer if we are to leave the EU.  So I went to London recently and joined an estimated million other people who are all against Brexit, for a whole host of reasons.

I have, however, been keeping my Green and Rosie Facebook page ticking over so in case you've missed my posts over there here are a couple of things I have shared recently.

Photo from Moral Fibres Facebook Page

Another petition to sign - this one has been set up by Staynor Hall Community Primary Academy asking Micheal Gove, UK Environment Secretary, to stop food producing companies using plastic in their packaging.  Young people fighting for their future - please so sign and share their petition.  Thank you, Hannah, from Chasing Simplicity who alerted me to this petition.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Helping Fight Fast Fashion Problems

In my last blog post I highlighted the damage our fast fashion habit is having on the planet, not least the drying up of what used to be the worlds 4th largest inland lake due to the water being taken to irrigate cotton fields.  The Aral Sea has now been renamed the Aralkum Desert. With so many articles and blogs online, including 2 that linked up to the #GoingGreen linky last month,  I did not list various ways we can all make our clothing habit less wasteful.  However something struck me after I wrote this and I remembered hearing on the news, many years ago, the "shock/horror" that Princess Diana had worn the same dress twice - albeit a few years apart.  Twice?  How dare she?  Someone famous wore a dress twice and it makes the headlines.  REALLY?

Fashion problems

Monday, 25 March 2019

Protect UK Environment. Sign the Petition to Revoke Article 50

Environmental issues have not really taken much prominence in the Brexit debate yet they represent some of the EU’s greatest successes. Thanks to the EU we have changed from being known as The Dirty Man of Europe in the 70s and 80s to having a better and more protected environment.  With the support of and finding from the EU we now have:

  • Cleaner inland waterways
  • 124 Blue Flag beaches
  • Increased recycling
  • Protected natural habitats
  • Investment in renewable energy
  • Eco-Schools programme
  • Bee protection by banning neonicotinoid  insecticides which threaten entire bee populations. 
The River Chess near Chorleywood, Hertfordshire - a clean and healthy river.

However, outside of the EU the Government would be able to bring in controversial technologies such as GM food and fracking and would not be tied to high EU environmental standards. It has already indicated a reluctance to prevent overfishing by not setting limits on how many fish can be caught, which greatly increases the risk of the collapse of fish populations.  Whn considering the need for new trade deals is is believed that the US has stated that any trade deals with the UK would be subject to allowing the importing of chlorinated US factory farmed chicken. Whilst there is debate about how true this statement is, what can be certain is that should we create trade deals with the US, our shelves could be filled with products with lower environmental standards.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Going Green #25 - March 2019

Welcome to Going Green.  This is the place to promote all your green, sustainable, environmental, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade, ethical etc posts ... basically any post that helps or inspires readers to preserve and improve our beautiful world.  If you are not sure what subjects would be good or need some ideas have a look here where you'll find all the details about the linky >>> Going Green Linky.

Why A Green and Rosie Life was quiet last month

Some of you may havw noticed I didn't blog last month and some asked if I was OK - thank you, I really appreciated that. Everything is fine I have just been really busy with other things and for my sanity (and the chance to get some sleep every night!) something had to give and the blog drew the short (paper) straw. You can read what I've been up to shortly on a new blog post which I still need to go and write!

Apologies therefore for the late appearance of the March #GoingGreen.

Come and see who has linked up to the March Going Green linky

Monday, 4 March 2019

What our fast fashion habit is doing to the planet

The term fast fashion has changed slightly over recent years. It originally meant the practice of high street clothes stores producing cheap clothes, quickly, based on clothes on the cat walks of the most recent fashion shows.  Now, though, it has taken on somewhat of a further sense to mean the way many people view and use cheap clothes - fast fashion is where people buy a fashionable item, wear it once once or twice and then throw it away.  The clothes are generally cheap, imported and of low quality but the wearer doesn't see or care about this.  They buy them to satisfy their Fast Fashion Habit.  In fact, the term Single Use Clothing could be used in many cases.

How our addiction to fast fashion is harming the planet

Monday, 4 February 2019

Going Green #24 - Feb 2019

Welcome to Going Green.  This is the place to promote all your green, sustainable, environmental, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade, ethical etc posts ... basically any post that helps or inspires readers to preserve and improve our beautiful world.  If you are not sure what subjects would be good or need some ideas have a look here where you'll find all the details about the linky >>> Going Green Linky.

What an amazing link up January's Going Green was!

Wow - I think the January #GoingGreen had the greatest range of posts to dates and just shows how we can make easily make everything in our lives more green.  Topics covered included:

Veganuary, flying, green goals for 2019, plastic, Valentine's Day, waste, home deodorizing, Nature and kids, Dubai, sustainability, home-made and upcycled gifts and decorations, simple living, make-up removal and shoes!!

I believe a few of you might have had difficulties linking up since InLinkz who I use for the linky have upgraded. I know I couldn't access the linky from my tablet so maybe you had problems from a phone or tablet. If so let me know and I can both help link you up and pass any problems over to InLinkz.

6 easy ways to live more sustainably from a Green and Rosie Life

Images from:

My picks from Going Green Jan 2018

Well you don't make my job of choosing favourites any easier do you, with so many inspiring blogs linked up?!  So this time I'm going for a mix of those bloggers who commented on most other blogs and those which really resonated with me.  You'll always stand a better chance of being picked of you comment on plenty of others and if you add the hashtag #GoingGreenit's easier for me to see you, especially as some of you use different names when commenting!

Green lterntaive to cotton wool make up removal pads
Image from Time to Craft

Reducing plastic use in Dubai
Image from Chicken Ruby

  • and finally Dean's post about simple living on Little Steps really summed up to me how we should all be living our lives.
Go green - live a simple life
Image from Little Steps

A special mention also goes to Isabel from Sustainable Responsible Living who came a very close third in the commenting race with her blog post post challenging us to a Plastic Detox.

Please do head over and read these if you missed them last link up - they are all great posts.

Going Green is a subject I believe in with a passion I hope, that with your help, this little linky will go from strength to strength.  Please link up to 3 posts, old or new and let's work together to spread the word that Going Green is both important but also easy.  Please promote the linky on all your social media channels and amongst all your friends. Thank you 💚.

Before you link up may I just remind you of 3 of the "rules":

  • Link up a maximum of THREE posts - any more will be deleted (sorry)
  • Please can you include my badge (preferably) or a link back to A Green and Rosie Life.
  • This is a blog link so in order for us all to benefit please comment on a minimum of three other blogs in the link up, ideally including the one in front of you, one my host posts and at least one other ... the more you comment the more others are likely to visit your blog.

If you share your posts using the hashtag #GoingGreen and I will RT you etc.  I will also add posts with suitable vertical pins to my Going Green Linky board on Pinterest.

Need to find me on Social Media?  Here you go ...

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

Thanks for visiting and I look forward to reading all your linked up green posts.

Inlinkz, who I use to host this link up, have recently upgraded. If you are having difficulties linking up please do let me know and I'll try and help. Some people may also find I need to moderate their links before they go live - no idea why that is the case and I will get you all joined as soon as I can.

Inlinkz Link Party