A new petition is urging the UK government to make climate impact labels mandatory on restaurant menus.
Vegan charity Viva! started the petition last month, just after the UK experienced record-breaking temperatures of more than 40 degrees. The Met Office stated the heatwave was made 10 times more likely due to the climate crisis.
Now, Viva! wants the government to help consumers understand more about how our diets impact the planet.
The meat industry contributes 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a major source of methane, which is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide.
A number of climate experts have warned that a widespread switch to plant-based eating is urgently needed. Dr. Peter Carter, an expert review for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently went so far as to say that plant-based lifestyles are “imperative for survival.”
Climate information over calories
To educate customers on the impact of their food choices on the planet, Bristol restaurant The Canteen recently started adding climate impact labels to its menus.
Viva! maintains that every restaurant in the UK should follow suit.
The UK government just passed a law requiring calorie information on menus, but Viva! says that climate information is “significantly more important to the health of the UK and the planet.”
Earlier this year, a study from Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg found that people are far more likely to choose “low emissions” options when they can see climate information on the menu.
Viva!’s managing director Laura Hellwig added that “it’s clear” that plant-based food choices are the best way for “individuals to make a difference.”
“Raising awareness of the carbon footprints from the production of meat, dairy, fish, and eggs is crucial,” she added. “A lot of people have no idea that eating one beef burger can be as damaging as driving the average UK petrol car for 10 miles.”