World Environment Day, on June 5, calls on people to take actions to help the planet - including making more sustainable dietary choices
Cow sculptures have been unveiled in UK cities ahead of World Environment Day on June 5 to highlight the impact of intensive dairy production on the planet.
Commissioned by Flora Plant, the Herding The Planet display has been designed by zero-waste artist Ptolemy Elrington, and features three life-size cows each made from reclaimed and recycled materials.
They have been placed in the two cities which consume the most dairy butter weekly – more than eight times a week – Aberdeen and Newcastle, as well as London, where residents eat it at least once a day.
Flora Plant has launched the campaign following research it recently undertook which showed that 29 per cent of Brits would not consider changing their diet for the sake of the planet.
The cows, like this 'Fast Fashion' cow in Newcastle, are made from recycled and secondhand materials. Photo © Flora Plant
Brits making changes
According to Flora Plant, study participants suggested there were a number of changes they would choose to take above changing their diet.
They are 2.5x more likely to cut back on driving, twice as likely to use less water, and 1.5x more likely to buy fewer new clothes to minimise their environmental impact than reduce their dairy intake.
The brand points out that ‘there is still much work to be done to educate on the key climate offenders and how individuals can make a difference’, as proven by its results.
For example, while food and drink is the largest contributor to an individual’s Greenhouse Gas Footprint, the average UK adult listed dairy production as only seventh in a survey of the largest climate offenders.
In addition, one in eight Brits believe dairy production positively impacts the environment – an inaccuracy Flora Plant is keen to correct through its Herding The Planet display this World Environment Day.
It says that switching from 1 kg of dairy butter to Flora Plant could save at least 12.2 kg of CO2-eq – the same amount as driving a car from London to Reading (60 km) and producing four cotton t-shirts.
Alternatively, it could save at least 74.4 litres of water – the equivalent of keeping a tap running for six minutes.
Ptolemy Elrington's 'Water Usage' cow in Aberdeen is made from recycled household items, including washing machine drums and a bathtub. Photo © Flora Plant
UK’s top 10 actions taken to reduce environmental impact
According to the research, the changes Brits most make to try and reduce their impact on the planet include ditching transport in favour of walking and using less water at home.
- Turn off lights at home (56%)
- Use reusable coffee cups and water bottles (48%)
- Turn off all plug sockets at home when not in use (47%)
- Walk more (46%)
- Use less water at home (37%)
- Eat less meat (32%)
- Buy second-hand clothing (27%)
- Take less flights (23%)
- Take public transport instead of driving (21%)
- Buy second hand furniture (18%) and Eat less dairy (18%)
London's 'Car' cow is made from old car parts. Photo © Flora Plant
Do your best on World Environment Day
In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, Perran Harvey, Flora Plant’s Senior Global Sustainability Lead, spoke about why people should ditch dairy to reduce their impact on the planet.
He said: “Given our research shows 63 per cent of people believe more needs to be done to raise awareness of the impact dairy production has on the environment, we are here to show people there is a really easy way to reduce your environmental impact, which tastes just as good and is just as easy as turning off your taps.
“We’ve got no issues with dairy cows, we love cows! But the hard truth is that industrial animal agriculture is harmful to our planet.
“Livestock farming is responsible for at least 14.5 per cent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and therefore we urgently need to reduce the world’s overreliance on dairy, in order to tackle climate change.”
The three cows were created by zero-waste artist, Ptolemy Elrington. Photo © Flora Plant
World Environment Day
Meanwhile, zero-waste artist Ptolemy Elrington, added: “23 years ago I decided that my sculptures would be exclusively made of recycled and secondhand materials, as I wanted to use art as a vehicle to get people to consider their ethical and environmental responsibilities.
“Right now, the most pressing global issue is climate change, therefore it is all of our responsibilities to make people sit up and listen to the ways they can make a difference, by using art as well as news and action.
“I am proud to team up with Flora Plant on their purpose to create a better planet for us and the next generations to live, breathe and prosper in.”
According to Flora Plant, its plant-based spread boasts ‘the same rich and creamy flavour as dairy butter’.
As 46 per cent of Brits said they would switch to a dairy-free alternative if it tasted the same, Flora Plant is urging them to ‘Skip The Cow’.
Dairy isn’t just harmful for the planet. Find out how it harms animals and learn what happens to male calves in the dairy industry
Featured photo © Flora Plant