Calendars remind us about things we hold dear. Anniversaries remind us to cherish those we love. Earth Day reminds us to cherish the planet.
Earth Day brings people together globally in partnership for the planet.
This year’s theme is 'Invest In Our Planet'. That’s what the Australian red meat industry is doing.
We are investing more in impacting less, from environmental sustainability and climate change initiatives like capturing and storing carbon to reduce emissions, to the unique role red meat producers play in fostering healthy, sustainable diets and food systems.
To support Earth Day (22 April), MLA is showcasing the positive impact the Australian red meat sector is having on the environment.
Our Earth Day 2023 webinar 'Investing in the health or our planet and body' shines a light on the role of red meat in sustainable diets – for people and the planet - in a crucial conversation with USA-based dietician, Diana Rodgers and MLA Managing Director, Jason Strong.
You can view the webinar here Earth Day Webinar.
Earth Day is about collective action across the globe. You can take part too. Resources (including social tiles and videos) on the positive contribution the industry is making are freely available HERE to share in the lead up to, and on, Earth Day. Spread your message using #EarthDay and #InvestInOurPlanet.
To get you thinking, here are some of the ways the red meat industry’s sustainability investment is already paying dividends for our planet and its people.
Action on climate change
1) The Australian red meat industry aims to be carbon neutral by 2030. Read more HERE
Net greenhouse gas emissions reduction
2) The Australian red meat industry has more than halved greenhouse gas emissions since 2005 – that's more than any other sector. Read more HERE.
3) Despite being one of the world’s largest exporters, red meat production only accounts for around 10% of Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions. Read more HERE.
5) Over the past decade, the area of land under woody vegetation in Australia increased by around 3 million hectares - about the size of 1.2 million football fields. Read more HERE.
6) It takes 486 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of beef in Australia - that’s 73% less water than 30 years ago. Read more HERE.
7) Raising livestock on pastures with good land management practices increases biodiversity and soil health on farms. Read more HERE.
8) Meat is a wholly natural, nutrient-dense food without artificial flavours or preservatives. Read more HERE.
9) Red meat is a source of important bioavailable nutrients for brain and muscle development, immunity and energy. Read more HERE.
There is no ‘either or’ choice between people or planet. Australia’s red meat production supports both.
Protecting the environment means fostering sustainable diets. It’s about providing food that is good for people, in a way that is good for the earth too.
Supporting healthy bodies
Red meat is a nutrient powerhouse, providing essential vitamins and minerals in efficient packages with fewer kilojoules than plant-based proteins like beans.
Red meat production is an ecosystem powerhouse.
Servicing healthy ecosystems
Grazing animals facilitate the biogenic carbon cycle. Methane emitted by ruminants like cattle, sheep and goats is recycled into carbon and sequestered, or stored, in plants and soil. The methane breaks down into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water after about 12 years. Grass absorbs the CO2, cows eat the grass and the natural cycle continues.
Grazing stimulates more plant growth, which accelerates absorption of CO2 into plants and soils as carbon. The more carbon stored in soil and plants, the less greenhouse gas emission in the atmosphere.
Australia’s red meat producers enhance that ecosystem through sustainable practices that benefit the environment, from reducing emissions and increasing carbon storage, to ensuring healthy soils and water use. Innovative strategies making a difference to our world include:
Legumes for carbon capture
Planting legumes helps build soil carbon, while woody plants help lock carbon in stems and root matter. Compounds in legumes can assist animal production and reduce methane emissions from livestock. Read more in the Legumes hub
Getting more from less with leuceana
Planting leucaena (a legume) can sustainably intensify production, freeing land for conservation and protecting from over-grazing. It can reduce soil erosion, prevent rising water tables and salinity, and reduce cattle methane production by 20-30%. Read more in the Leucaena hub
Building healthy soils
Fertile soils boosts pasture productivity and improves water and nutrient use with less risk of surface run-off, erosion and deep drainage. Read more in the Healthy soils hub.
Recruiting dung beetles
Dung beetles improve the flow of water, nutrients and carbon into the root zones of pastures. That boosts pasture health and productivity, prevents build-up of flies and nematodes for improved animal health and productivity, and helps producers sequester carbon in soil. Read more in the Dung beetle hub.
Earth Day is an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, and motivate us to keep moving forward with innovations and initiatives to better our people and our planet.
That’s what Australia’s red meat industry is working to achieve.
Not just on Earth Day. But every day.