Do you think that by eating less NZ red meat you are doing the environment a favour?
You’re. So. Wrong.
You are not doing the environment a favour by eating almonds, or eating rice. The greenhouse gases resulting from the production of rice are huge (greater than that of grassfed sheep and beef), and in California (where 80% of the world’s almonds are grown), water quality is pretty crappy.
So you lovely, healthy, ‘informed’ eaters – Don’t stop buying meat. Buy better meat.
Don’t read studies that use statistics from countries that farm in a completely different way to how we do in NZ. Don’t fall for pretty, sexy, infographics on Facebook that miss out or ignore really important science. And don’t be holier than thou lecturing someone about meat as you buy another coffee, book a plane ticket, and check texts on your unsustainably manufactured cellphone.
Talk to farmers instead (like me and Clare 😁), tell them what you want to know about growing meat in New Zealand. We REALLY care what you think.
Natural environments around the world are declining – because we eat, because we wear clothes, because we buy phones, go on planes, because we live. All 6 or 7 billion of us (I lose count) are contributing to this decline. Some contribute more than others. Some are more able to mitigate their contribution. But not buying NZ grassfed meat? That’s a dichotomy – NZ sheep and beef farmers are exactly the kind of food producers that need your input, and your support. Don’t stop buying meat. Buy better meat.
Because, unless our farmers are making making a profit, there’s no money to fence off more bush, protect more streams, to do even more pest control on their farms. By ditching NZ grown meat for imported food, you are not doing a thing to improve environmental outcomes in New Zealand, you are really just shifting your impact out of sight.
Here in New Zealand, we know we can grow quality protein that is healthy for people and healthy for the environment. We’re not there yet, but some of the work to improve environmental impact has already been done 👏🏽 (though its pretty hard to get some people to acknowledge that), and some of that work is coming.
It’s like New Zealanders’ use of plastic – we’ve started the good work in reducing the environmental impact of plastic, but we all know within our households there’s plenty more ways we can reduce its presence.
I’ve just finished reading NZ Beef and Lamb’s Environment Strategy and Implementation Plan and its great – a fit for purpose plan for our farmers: cleaner water, a carbon neutral sector, thriving biodiversity and healthy soils. Thank you to BLNZ leadership for a firm direction that our farmers WILL be part of the solution, and not part of the problem.