On World Vegan Day this past Nov. 1, the UK's first permanent vegan butcher shop opened in London and completely sold out. Inundated with 100 online orders within their first 10 minutes, the shop also attracted long lines down the street, reported Plant Based News.
According to Live Kindly, while set up much like a traditional butcher shop with white tile walls and meat cases, Rudy's Vegan Butcher offers patrons completely meat- and dairy-free selections, including plant-based pastrami, seitan chicken, 'soysage' patties and Christmas turkey rolls. The substitutes are made from soya and wheat protein seitan that mimic the experience of meat, Business Insider reported.
"It's all designed to emulate meat. It tastes like meat, it's got meat-like texture," said veteran vegan chef and Rudy's co-founder Matthew J. Foster, reported Fox News.
Spurred on by the animal cruelty he witnessed as a professional chef, Foster and his business and life partner Ruth (Rudy) Mumma opened the non-traditional butcher shop as an extension of their popular restaurant, Rudy's Dirty Vegan Diner. The latter launched in April 2018 as London's first vegan diner, Camden New Journal reported.
"It didn't seem right anymore," Foster told the news report. "We can survive and thrive far better on a plant-based diet."
The restaurant is Foster's and Mumma's outlet for promoting and educating others about animal rights using "unbeatable, mouth-watering food and a punk AF attitude towards getting sh!t done," their website says.
The diner reimagines popular American comfort and fast food entirely out of plants. Now, the butcher shop expands their vision and offerings, as do DIY home kits for favorite Rudy's meals. For every DIY kit purchased, Rudy's donates £1 (about a dollar) to Friend Farm Animal Sanctuary.
The meat-free butcher shop will also stock ready-made foods like chili non-carne, vegan 'lobstah' salad and dairy-free cheese sauces, Live Kindly reported.
In addition to being cruelty-free for animals, a vegan diet has also been touted as one of the most effective ways individuals can reduce their carbon footprint. Global meat production, especially beef and lamb, requires a high amount of carbon emissions and strains natural resources, something meatless alternatives can largely avoid, the New York Times reported.
"We're destroying the planet for our taste buds," warned Foster, reported Camden New Journal.
The UK plant-based movement is booming, despite the fact that only one percent of the population is vegan, reported Business Insider. Sales of plant-based foods grew 40 percent between 2014 and 2019 to around $1.05 billion per year in the UK, the report estimated. This figure is expected to exceed $1.41 billion by 2024.
Globally, the interest in plant-based products and alternative protein options mirrors that of the UK, reported Fox News. The U.S. trend has been boosted by meat shortages at grocery stores, due to meat plants closing during the pandemic.
"Many consumers perceive that plant-based foods are a healthier option, and this notion is the key driver behind the reduction in meat consumption in recent years," food and drink analyst Kate Vlietstra told Business Insider.
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By Peter Giger
The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.
A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
By John R. Platt
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