In Finland, Suomen Luonto (“Finnish Nature”) magazine, choosing “the most unnecessary thing of the year” for two decades, this year “awarded” the excessive meat consumption, Yle reports.
The magazine notes that in addition to environmental damage, there is also a negative impact on health. Many Finns eat much more red meat than experts recommend. Over the last half century, meat consumption in Finland has increased by 40%.
Suomen Luonto also draws attention to the fact that excess protein accumulates in the body and puts a strain on water treatment plants.
Livestock, in turn, becomes a source of millions of tons of greenhouse gases annually.
The magazine has been choosing the most unnecessary thing since 2000. Then the “winner” was a blower for collecting leaves.
In other years, the “winners” were plastic egg packaging, fleece fabric and fleeting fashion.
The city of Helsinki will give up meat dishes at its events
Helsinki City authorities will change the rules of food at events organized by the city to take into account environmental factors of food, Yle reports. They say no meat will be served, single-use cutlery used at city events.
Now the basis of the menu at various gatherings, seminars, workshops and public hearings will be seasonal vegetables and local fish caught in accordance with ethical principles.
Coffee, tea and bananas will be bought only under the brand name “Fair Trade”. Meat and meat products will not be offered at all.
In addition, the city is refusing to use disposable tableware and cutlery, and is no longer serving bottled water and other beverages.
Guests of the event must announce their arrival in advance. This will reduce waste.
It is noted that these rules can be deviated from only at summits and only for good reasons.
The city of Helsinki has come under criticism for its decision to take meat off the menu at its events as of January 2022.
Helsinki on November 3 stated that the menus of its events will consist of seasonal vegetarian food, responsibly sourced local fish and fair-trade products as of next year. No single-use cutlery will additionally be used, and oat milk will be served with coffee instead of cow milk.
The decision will affect the food and refreshments served at city-held workshops, seminars, public events and invite-only events, for example.
“Today’s decision isn’t a comment on the food service provided in schools or elderly care [facilities],” Johanna af Hällström, the head of the climate team at the City of Helsinki, clarified to YLE. “This is one way among many to reduce the climate impact of food and reduce the amount of natural resources used by the city.”
The decision, she added, is not directly linked to the city-ran effort to halve the consumption of meat and dairy products by 2025.
Juha Marttila, the chairperson of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), said the decision reeks of green-washing in light of the energy policy of the Finnish capital.
“Helsinki naturally has every right to decide what it wants to serve – that’s not the problem,” he stated to Maaseudun Tulevaisuus. “But this does reek of green-washing, as the city is a real disgrace when it comes to energy policy.”
Riikka Pirkkalainen, the party secretary of the Centre Party, estimated that the decision is regrettable and a missed opportunity if it applies also to domestically produced meat.
“There’s no willingness to brand the world’s cleanest food in the country’s capital. You could’ve also flipped the setting, into an asset for exports,” she lamented on Twitter. “We should nonetheless work together and support food producers – food companies and producers – together. I want to believe that we ca n do better.”
Increasing the amount of vegetables on diets is a common goal for everyone, she assured.
In February 2019, the city of Helsinki decided to halve the number of dairy and meat products offered to guests of the city by 2025.
Earlier it was reported that UN experts believe that the significant consumption of meat and dairy products in the West is a factor in promoting global warming, and that the transition to a plant-based diet could help combat climate change.