Every year, more than a billion people in 193 countries celebrate Earth Day, which has become the world’s biggest environmental movement and the largest secular observance in the world. And on this day of action, thousands of Canadians will make changes to the way they work and live – from trying to use less plastic to planting trees and cleaning up litter. But according to new research, only 4% of Canadians actually realize that the single biggest thing they can do to fight climate change is to reconsider what’s on their plate.
That’s why Vancouver-based brand Earth’s Own is launching The Plant Challenge, the latest move in the company’s ongoing mission to change the way the world eats and reduce our carbon “food” print.
“If everyone shifted to a plant-based diet, we could feed the world with a 50% smaller carbon footprint, 75% less land use and 20% less water use,” explains Brittany Hull, Vice President, Marketing, Earth’s Own. “Those are staggering numbers. We know that making a full-time swap may be overwhelming for some people, which is why we’ve launched The Plant Challenge. We’re imploring all Canadians to mark Earth Day by doing the single most important thing they can do to save our planet: eat plants.”
Participating is simple: Earth’s Own is simply asking all Canadians to choose plant-based foods for each one of their meals on April 22 – a full suite of resources, inspiration and meal ideas are available at earthsown.com.
And to inspire others to join the journey, the brand is inviting participants to publicly share their participation in The Plant Challenge online, by sharing the Earth’s Own call-to-action, using the hashtag #ThePlantChallenge and tagging up to five friends. For every share, 25 cents (up to $25,000) will be donated to the Earth’s Own Plant Project, a fund dedicated to supporting groups and organizations working to fight climate change by sparking a shift to plant-based eating.
While a one day shift may not change the world, it has a very real power to change perception. New research conducted by Earth’s Own in partnership with Strategic Navigator confirmed that only 4% of Canadians believe that eating a plant-based diet is the #1 way for individuals to reduce our environmental impact (compared to 20% who believe recycling will have the biggest impact, or 15% who cited using less plastic). In fact, only one-quarter (26%) of Canadians surveyed realize that eating a plant-based diet can have a lot of influence on fighting climate change, and 30% believe a plant-based diet has no or little impact.
“One single person switching to a plant-based diet means a 2.5x reduction in C02 emissions – the equivalent of driving 42km a day or flying across Canada and back, every year,” concludes Hull. “This isn’t a nice-to-try trend, it’s an urgent change we need to make to protect the future of our planet. Earth Day is the one day of the year dedicated to considering the health of our world – there is truly no better day to rethink the way we approach food and diet in Canada.”
For Canadians nervous about how to make a shift to plant-based eating, Earth’s Own has partnered with plant-based advocate Sam Turnbull, founder of the popular blog It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. Sam has been open about her own struggles adapting to a plant-based lifestyle almost 10 years ago and is offering up her top tips to overcome some of the biggest barriers Canadians face when considering a more plant-based diet.
The bestselling cookbook author offers up answers to some of the top questions she hears from fans and followers:
“Will I get enough protein?”
Sam says: This is actually a common misconception. All whole foods contain protein, and as long as you eat a variety of whole foods you will easily get all the protein you need. In fact, the average vegan gets about 70% more protein than they even need in a day.
“What will other people think?”
Sam says: It might be surprising but one of the hardest parts of going plant-based is not the food, but the people. It’s funny, because if you feast on fast food, no one blinks an eye, but tell people you want to eat more plants and suddenly everyone is concerned about your nutrition. Instead of getting into an argument, try just speaking about why it’s important to you and how it makes you feel. Hard to argue with the idea of choosing plant-based to save the planet!
“What about kids or picky eaters?”
Sam says: Eating plant-based doesn’t have to be light years different than the way you’re already eating now. The easiest way to transition to a plant-based diet is to sub your favourite meals with the plant-based version. So if your kids (or yourself) love mac & cheese, pizza and cookies – you can still eat all of those things, just swap for a plant-based version! Even if your goal is to incorporate a lot more vegetables into your diet, don’t feel the need to go from a meat-based diet to eating nothing but smoothies and grain bowls. Make a slow transition and you will find it a lot more sustainable and enjoyable.