CAUSES

We've gathered a few of the reasons why taking on a Small Change Challenge is a good idea, highlighting some of the issues addressed by each.

RETREAT

FROM MEAT

High meat diets have been linked with obesity and heart disease.

Growing crops to feed animals reduces the land available to produce food for humans. As many as 20 vegetarians could be fed on the amount of land needed to feed one person consuming a meat-based diet. About 25,000 people die from hunger-related causes every day. We grow enough corn and soya to feed them. Most of it goes to cattle, pigs and chickens.

The majority of our meat has been grown on factory farms. Animals consume unnatural diets of high-protein food designed for speedy growth in small and stressful conditions. They receive antibiotics to counter the effects, traces of which have been found in the food we eat. Some argue this contributes to the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Our eating habits are responsible for 20-30% of our greenhouse gas emissions. Half of this comes from our production of livestock which the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation claims is "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems". We make it worse by consuming foods which travel thousands of miles to our plates.

RIDE

IT OUT

According to a report in The Lancet, a lack of physical activity contributes to the deaths of 5.3m of us each year. Adults are advised to do 150 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk cycling and walking every week; a third of us don't achieve this.

With congestion worsening, driving is becoming increasingly stressful. Road rage is on the increase with some studies suggesting as many as half of us are affected.

Petrol and diesel are made from crude oil. This non-renewable fossil fuel (like gas and coal) is running out. Crude oil also contains a complex mix of toxic chemicals as evidenced by the catastrophic effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Our carbon emissions from road transport are 18% of our total emissions and rising. Whilst we use airplanes less, our relative generation of carbon dioxide is even worse when we choose to fly.

PACK

IT IN

Our consumption of packaged food continues to rise and is associated with an increase in obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, some cancers and tooth decay.

Packaging often puts us into contact with BPA and DEHP, chemicals associated with hormone disruption in animals and small numbers of humans; studies show restricting our diets to foods with little or no packaging reduces our exposure.

Approximately 100 million tonnes of waste goes to landfill every year. Although we've made progress with recycling we are still disposing of half our rubbish. As rubbish wastes, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Depending on the materials and processes involved, recycling requires substantial amounts of energy.

It takes 1000 years for one plastic bag to completely degrade.

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