The lead up to the New Year is traditionally a time of reflection on the year just past and to set goals for the coming year. New Year’s Day is an opportunity to start putting those New Year’s resolutions into practice! Here are a couple of ideas that might help get 2022 off to a great start:
Veganuary – Did you know:
- 35% of all greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to food production, and that 57% of those emissions relate to animal-based food (including growing food for livestock to eat)? (Source: Eco Watch)
- “Beef production requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of edible protein than common plant-based protein sources such as beans, peas and lentils. Chicken and pork are more resource-efficient than beef, but still require three times more land and emit three times more greenhouse gas emissions than beans.” (Source: World Resources Institute)
- “Animal farming takes up 83% of the world’s agricultural land, but delivers only 18% of our calories. A plant-based diet cuts the use of land by 76% and halves the greenhouse gases and other pollution that are caused by food production.” (Source: Guardian)
Eating fewer animal products is also better for our health - while no one is saying that a single serving of meat or dairy is harmful, in 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified processed meat as a ‘definite’ cause of cancer (specifically bowel cancer) and red meat as a ‘probable’ cause after reviewing the evidence gathered in over 800 studies. As for dairy, many products are high in saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol and put you at greater risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Veganuary’s vision is:
“A world without animal farms and slaughterhouses. A world where food production does not decimate forests, pollute rivers and oceans, exacerbate climate change, and drive wild animal populations to extinction.”
Veganuary challenges participants to give up animal-based products for the month of January. However, you shouldn’t feel you have to go cold turkey – maybe you want to start out by going meat free one day a week, or trying out a plant-based milk when you next buy a coffee. Every little bit helps!
Red January – Red January encourages participants to undertake at least one physical activity every day in January and promotes the positive effects of exercise on mental health. By signing up participants can raise money for Sport In Mind, a charity with a mission “to improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems through sport and physical activity”.
On this day in 2004 NASA’s spacecraft Stardust encountered Comet Wild 2 and collected dust samples that were returned to Earth for analysis in 2006. Scientists found the amino acid glycine, one of the fundamental chemical building blocks of life, in the sample.
On this day in 2003 Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist, was born. She rose to prominence in 2018 as a 15-year-old when she began her Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for the climate) and protesting outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. In 2019 she was named Time Person of the Year (the youngest person ever) and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three occasions.
On this day in 1996 General Motors announced its electric car. The EV1 would have a range of 70 miles in city driving and 90 miles on the highway and sell for around $35,000. Sales of the car were modest, GM produced 1117 EV1s between 1996 and 1998. The EV1 was the subject of a 2006 documentary by Chris Paine titled Who Killed the Electric Car? After a slow start, sales of electric vehicles have picked up in recent years, with an estimated 2.6 million sold globally in the first half of 2021.
On this day in 2005 the dwarf planet Eris was discovered by a team based at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego, California. Initially considered the tenth-planet in the Solar System, the discovery led the International Astronomical Union to define the term planet for the first time, ultimately leading to the delisting of Pluto as a planet.
On this day in 1912 German geophysicist Alfred Wegener presented his theory of continental drift to the German Geological Society. It wasn’t until decades later that evidence to prove the theory was discovered, but it is now widely accepted that the world as it looks today is only a snapshot in time. This online map shows you what the planet looked like in the past, and this article looks at what could happen in the future.
On this day in 1610 Galileo Galilei makes his first observation of the four Galilean moons: Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa. Although he didn’t invent the telescope, the version he built in 1609 enabled him to make a number of important observations and discoveries, including about the Moon, Venus, Saturn, Neptune, and the Milky Way. His advocacy of Copernican heliocentrism (the astronomical model that placed the Sun at the centre of the Universe rather than the Earth) brought him into direct conflict with the Roman Catholic Church and in 1633 he was forced to recant his claims that the Earth moved around the Sun, at which point he is said to have defiantly stated “Eppur si muove” (still it moves – referring to the Earth). It only took the Catholic Church a mere 350 years to admit it was wrong!