Climate scientists say that climate is better off when you “lose the beef” rather than “keep it local”. It’s a choice between local jobs and the environment. Most people choose “local jobs”, but don’t know about this conclusion, posted at the Warsaw climate change talks for 2013:
…the distribution of food accounts for only around 10% of food related GHG emissions. It is therefore important for consumers to put less emphasis on choosing their food according to so-called ‘food miles’ and rather change their consumption behaviour in order to
influence the demand for sustainable low emission products. Many consumers, given the right support, have the power to influence how food is produced through exercising their right to choose by excluding or reducing GHG heavy foods such as meat. In order to exercise this
right effectively, the evidence-base must be strengthened, (and confusing or misleading claims removed), to ensure consumers know which choices to make. This can be strengthened by education, an increase in sustainable choices, and should always be viewed in conjunction with government and industry actions.
Consumer organisations should
· Encourage and assist consumers in changing their behaviour regarding food consumption by underlining those areas where there is vast potential for a positive impact through small changes, particularly eating less meat and moving the emphasis away from ‘food miles’.
· Continuously increase the range of sustainable products, including a wider variety of vegetarian food.
· Use regulatory and fiscal measures, and both incentives and penalties, including through taxation, to ensure producers and distributors produce and distribute food in a sustainable manner.
· Use economic instruments to make sustainable food choices cheaper for consumers.
The magic word here is “education”. That’s what this is about and what it’s always been about.