3 Ways The Golden Globes Could Reduce Environmental Impact More Than Removing Meat

Tis the season for awards shows and Hollywood red carpet glam. Fans will gather around their screens to watch celebrities in the latest fashion glam up for the broadcast and make acceptance speeches that will be talked about in media outlets across the board. The Golden Globes kicks off the season of award shows, and for the first time ever, the menu at the award show will be vegan.

The menu change, just decided two weeks ago, replaces chilean sea bass. In years prior, the menu has included filet mignon steaks. It’s important to note the vegan change includes off-screen buffet tables since most celebrities do not show up for the meal served and instead chow down off-set when arriving late.

Why are the Golden Globes going vegan?

Wait? Why do we care about what celebrities are eating? Why am I writing about Hollywood today?

The Golden Globes are billing the vegan menu changes as a way to bring awareness to the environmental impact from eating meat. Claims about that removing meat from the diet can help stop climate change and reduce our carbon footprint.

As I’ve written about before, if we take a look at the actual science, data from the EPA and academic research institutions show that agriculture is responsible for far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than is often claimed in pop-culture.

According the the EPA, all of agriculture is only responsible for 9% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Livestock only account for 4.2% of emissions and cattle only being 2%.

Why are we focusing so much attention on such a small part of the pie? Here are three things the Golden Globes, celebrities and all of Hollywood can do to reduce the environmental impact with far greater success than removing meat from a menu at an awards show.

Ditch the private jets and limos

Wealthy celebrities are known for traveling around the world in luxurious private jets and waiting in lines for these award shows in idling limos. Remember when 114 private jets were flown to Google’s climate change conference? Or what about the 1,500 private jets flown for a meeting in Davos, Switzerland? Have we taken a moment to consider the greenhouse gas emissions created by these low-occupancy forms of travel?

EPA numbers show 26% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to transportation. Rather than jetting around privately, have these celebrities considered taking mass transportation – commercial airlines for long distance trips or public transportation in the city to reduce the number of vehicles in the skies and on the roads?

This doesn’t even account for the 30% of greenhouse gas emissions attributed to electricity. How electricity is needed for these Hollywood productions?

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from EPA, 2014. Stock Image.

Removing meat from the menu doesn’t have an immediate impact on GHG emissions. The product has already been harvested. If you don’t buy it, someone else will, or you are creating more food waste by tossing it (see my third point below).

But if you choose not to fly your private jet or drive your car today, you can have a direct and immediate impact of not emitting pollutants. Let’s consider that option.

The Golden Globes decided to go "meatless" this year to "fight climate change" and "promote sustainability." Livestock…

Posted by Peterson Farm Bros on Saturday, January 4, 2020

Wear that dress more than once

As everyone is posing on the red carpet for photos and attention, take a look at those dresses. How many resources went into producing that item of clothing that will be worn exactly once?

As celebrities are creating a culture where fashion goes in an out the door quicker than the calendar changes, that has a huge environmental impact. This constant rotation and one-use culture creates a huge problem of wasted resources. By some measures, the fashion industry has a larger environmental impact than those private jets and mega yachts.

It was refreshing to see some attention being paid to the issue as major Italian fashion magazine, Vogue published an edition with no photo shoots with models in the latest one-use fashion trends.

fast fashion waste environmental impact sustainability golden globes
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Reduce food waste

Let’s take a look back at the Golden Globes. The decision of the vegan menu change was made only two weeks ago. At a venue the size of the Beverly Hills Hilton for an event of this magnitude, orders were placed and the food was in the process of being delivered far in advance. How much food waste was created with this menu change for a meal that’s not even eaten during the broadcast?

When food is produced but not consumed, it’s a huge unnecessary use of resources. Not only are all of the resources used in producing the food wasted, uneaten food often ends up in a solid waste landfill, the third largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.

Americans throw away more than 20 pounds of food per person every month. That’s huge! Reducing food waste is one of the most impactful things anyone can do to help decrease their environmental footprint.

Can the Golden Globes make an impact?

While the decision has been made and celebrities have made their choices of what platform to stand on, changes will not be made for this broadcast. Will this set the tone for other award shows this season?

Or will someone see the irony of the message being shared and look at other opportunities for change that can have a much greater impact on reducing their environmental impact?

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Ryan Goodman lives in Colorado, is an avid trail and ultrarunner, and works with farmers and ranchers to help them share their stories of agriculture and how food is raised. Connect with Ryan online as @BeefRunner. #TeamBeef.
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