Ben Farmer

VP Charities & Community

Planet Pledge 2020: Looking Beyond Meat Free Mondays

ID: A photo of Lizzie smiling on a bridge over a river

Guest blog: Lizzie Biggs, a student from Wadham College writes about her experience with the OxPOCH programme and the current research at the Unviersity of Oxford into food consumption patterns in colleges.

It is no secret that the Earth’s biodiversity is declining. It is also no secret that we can do something about this.

As students, we are privileged to study topics that inspire us to question the way things are done and critique them when we think they are wrong. However, how often do we question our own impacts on biodiversity as consumers that are part of a wider college and university community?

One such research team in the Zoology Department (OxPOCH) are aiming to quantify our biodiversity impacts as students, in particular focussing on how our food consumption patterns within colleges are impacting biodiversity on a global scale.

Using LMH as a case study college, OxPOCH have calculated the environmental and biodiversity impacts of the food consumed by the LMH community. Using this data as a baseline, researchers have been busy determining the potential impacts of different interventions that may promote the consumption of more biodiversity friendly food options.

Whilst students across the university are familiar with interventions such as meat free Mondays, OxPOCH are exploring a whole host of interventions that may prevent the irreversible losses of biodiversity that food production incurs. From this, the research team will be recommending a set of interventions that are framed within a set of steps called the ‘Conservation Hierarchy’, which prioritises interventions that encourage consumers to refrain from purchasing the most harmful foods. Importantly, this recommended set of interventions will also consider the consumer and college risks that might be associated with each intervention.

This exciting project is working in conjunction with the Oxford SU to ensure that the results and recommended interventions are available to all colleges. Although results are yet to be formally published from the LMH project, preliminary results are highlighting multiple opportunities to reduce our food impacts as students, with interventions that look beyond Meat free Mondays. So watch this space!

Lizzie Biggs, Wadham College

Click here for more info about the OxPOCH Project

 

This blog is part of Oxford SU’s Planet Pledge, for the whole of November we’re encouraging students to do one thing differently to help tackle the climate crisis, whilst also highlighting what actions the University and its colleges can take. There’s prizes for the college with the most pledges so get involved and make your pledge at: https://www.oxfordsu.org/planetpledge 

Click here for more info about Planet Pledge and to make your pledge!