Last year, around nine million people took part in Earth Hour in the UK alone – most showing their support by going 'lights out' for an hour at 8.30pm. Even landmarks such as Sydney Opera House, Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower, and Edinburgh Castle switch off their lights to create a thought-provoking display of their commitment, too. This year, the WWF wants you to go a step further, and form habits which will make a big difference to the future of the planet – but don't worry, it's easier than it sounds! As a vegetarian, you're already making a significant environmental statement by reducing worldly meat consumption (try not to be TOO smug!) It's a great start, but from this weekend onwards, why not ditch plastic bags for material totes, switch to green energy, or invest in a reusable coffee cup?
EARTH HOUR, 8.30PM, 24 MARCH
Do more than simply turn the lights out for an hour this year – read on to discover top sustainability tips from the WWF to continue your support for the planet.
It doesn't really come as a surprise that the food we eat has a significant impact on the environment and health of our planet, but did you know that it's responsible for approximately 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions? This will only increase if we don’t make changes to our diets and ensure that we eat more sustainably. Waste is a big deal as well: next time you're walking round the supermarket, assess the amount of packaging on every item you're adding to the trolley. Think about whether it's recyclable, and ways that you can minimise the amount of rubbish added to your bin.
WWF’S FIVE EASY STEPS FOR EATING MORE SUSTAINABLY
This is all about adding choice and flavour to ensure you’re having a healthy and balanced plant-based diet. Take inspiration from traditional cuisines where much of the food is plant-based, from delicious salads and vegetable-based stews, to pies, tagines, pasta and rice dishes. Check out the recipes on our website, including this delicious risotto from Raymond Blanc, specially created for Earth Hour!
When adapting your diet, it’s important to continue to expand your taste horizons. Currently too many people rely on the same dishes and same core ingredients, particularly when cooking at home, resulting in reliance on the mass cultivation of only a handful of plant species. By having a colourful plate, you'll add variety to your diet whilst ensuring a more natural, flavoursome and exciting meal.
When shopping, remember to bring your own reusable bags with you, and choose to buy loose products or those with less packaging. This also helps to control the amount you buy, so you'll take home only what's needed. Making a shopping list based on a weekly meal plan will prevent added extras being chucked into the trolley, too! When you get rid of food you throw away natural resources and money. The average UK household wastes approximately 30% of the food it buys – that’s like taking £100 out of the bank and putting £30 straight into the bin. Get creative with leftovers so your pennies and food provisions stretch even further.
This is important, if a little tricky. Take notice of the ingredients printed on packaging. There are various standards you can find on food packets that prove that it is sourced and produced sustainably. Logos to look out for next time you’re shopping include the Fairtrade logo and the RSPO logo, indicating sustainable use of palm oil.
Eat fewer processed foods as they often contain high levels of sugar, fat and salt. They also tend to be far more resource-intensive to produce.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be helping to reduce the impact of climate change, conserving ecosystems on which precious wildlife depend, and improving your health and wellbeing with nutritious and delicious meals.
Visit www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour to find out more and make a promise to protect the planet!