Veggies and vegans: the planet savers?

This afternoon at the Hay Festival Martin Wright posed to social entrepreneur Safia Minney and organic smallholder Simon Fairlie the ever-growing concern of the “global shame” surrounding meat eating, and the impact that nurturing livestock has on global warming and emissions.

Co-writer of Slow Fashion Minney proposed there are inherent parallels between the theory of Slow Fashion and “slow food”, and said the worry is that we are producing food in “incredibly wasteful ways”, and “we need to start producing and consuming food in ways that truly balanced with our seasons”.

“We are responsible for the shiny advertising around meat production”, Minney said, as she argued we should all try and do our best to “eat organic” just as we should be sourcing organically and ethically for our clothing, too.

Fairlie presented a similar view on waste; he suggested “why don’t we just eat what we produce?” instead of becoming “vegan fusspots”, to the audience's amusement.

“I eat in Rome what they eat in Rome”, Fairlie said, as he argued against the issues of social farming and over-consumption.

And Fairlie provided the astonishing statistic that “a vegan in a year creates about 129 kilos of food processing waste”, and even suggested there should be a “VAT on meat” initiative, that Minney added she’d be eager to petition.

Picture L-R: Martin Wright, Safia Minney, Simon Fairlie.

Picture by: Marsha Arnold

If you are interested in environmental issues please also see Mary Robinson Talks to Emily Shuckburgh about the fight for a sustainable future at 7pm on Saturday 25 May. If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.