Energy is a commodity with variable value, it seems, depending on where you are. ‘We Greeks,’ said a fellow-traveller on the train as we departed Athens, ‘could have free hot water and free lighting all year; but we prefer to pay… Why put an annual 2000 hours of sunshine to good use, when we can produce energy more expensively in other ways?‘ He was, of course, being ironic.
Today marks the start of UK National Vegetarian Week. The arguments for a balanced vegetarian diet are persuasive – it ‘saves’ energy, it uses less carbon and water, it can respect the seasons, it has potential to make a huge contribution to resolving global hunger, and it’s good for us. So how can vegetarianism become more often the diet of choice?
Food is rising rapidly up the agenda. Allotments, biofuels, calories, customs, eating disorders, famine, farming, fats, fibre, foodmiles, GM, health, organic, packaging, processing, salt, seasonal, security, sell-by, sustainability, vitamins, water…. Where do we begin with what to eat and drink?
Vegetarians have long maintained that ‘beans are best’. Morally and practically, they say, vegetarian diets win over carnivorous varieties. Now there’s another string to the non-meat-eaters’ bow: veggie, especially vegan, is eco. So will people choose carrots, not carne, to reverse climate change?