Sunday, October 14, 2007

Take action on climate change and tackle obesity at the same time

The health secretary Alan Johnson has today declared that the public health threat posed by obesity in the UK is a "potential crisis on the scale of climate change".

Come off it Alan, try telling that to the people of Bangladesh and other countries likely to be hit hardest by the impact of climate change (or Londoners or those in Norfolk, for that matter). To quote Tony Blair from 2003:

"We face a situation in which 50 million people in Asia could be killed or displaced by floods, further swathes of Africa could be reduced to desert, accompanied by massive deforestation in central and South America, and huge increases in disease, particularly malaria. And it is the poorest countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, which will suffer the most devastating effects of these changes."

It is of course concerning that we are rapidly becoming an obese nation, and we do need to tackle it, but on a par with climate change, even within the UK?!

There are however some interesting correlations between obesity and climate change and some easy steps to tackle both at once:

  • Start walking and cycling more and ditch the car
  • Start buying more fresh, locally-produced food or better still, grow your own (if you can get an allotment)
  • Eat less meat.
  • Turn off the TV/computer/Playstation and do something more active/sociable instead

So perhaps the 'obesity crisis' is in fact a great opportunity to see some belated action to tackle climate change? Interesting report I found: Unfit for purpose: How car use fuels climate change and obesity.

Meanwhile in Lewisham Green Party we are thinking of offering a special 'Green gym weightloss programme', which basically involves delivering lots of our newsletters . . . any takers?!


Philip Booth said...

Shocked by Alan Johnson comments that I'd missed - this really is nonsense!! On the eat less meat aspect I wholly agree - I was also interested to have someone send me this comment when discussing whether we should be worries by population growth:

"By far the biggest population explosion is in animals which we are deliberately breeding for food. The number is now so great that they eat 5 to 10 times as much plant food as humans and compete with us for many scarce resources (especially land, water and fossil energy used in production) to supply a comparatively small quantity of meat. As well as breathing out CO2 they also produce methane which is 20 times more powerful. This area needs to be addressed, and could be dealt with a lot quicker than the human population."

Iron-Man said...

We all need to become vegetarians. But then vegetables deplete the soil...?? What are the answers? Less population?