By Louise Palmer-Masterton, Stem & Glory 

Knowing that our actions can help our children inherit a sustainable future is huge motivationto do something about our carbon impact. But where do we start? Here are five easy wins that make a big difference, plus there’s a tasty (and easy) low carbon recipe to tempt your family’s tastebuds onboard


1. Move to a 100% renewable energy tariff

The most significant step anyone can take, both in their home or business is to move your energy supply to a 100% renewable tariff. If you combine this move with energy saving actions, such as LED lights, and energy saving devices, the increased cost of these tariffs can be offset by behaviour change. 

Don’t underestimate the power of many small actions combining to make a significant difference. For example, if the oven is on, utilise it to cook more food than just one meal on one shelf. You can retrain your mind to question if every single energy use is necessary. I was gifted an air fryer last Christmas, and it’s amazing how little we use our main oven now. The air fryer cuts cooking times too, and you can cook many different things in it.


2. Reduce consumption, and reduce waste
When you are shopping, ask yourself these three questions every time you pick up something:

– Do I really need this?

– Where was this made?
– What happens to this when I no longer need/want it (in the case of food, what happens to the packaging)?

Base your purchasing decisions on your answers to these questions. It’s not about being 100% perfect, but in this way, you can train yourself into better buying habits, and it’s amazing how fast this process can change your mindset.


3. Reduce your own use of single use
Get yourself a lunch box and a reusable cup and take it everywhere with you instead of using single use items. Use the lunchbox to take your own lunch, but also carry an empty lunchbox – restaurants and cafes are often very happy to fill your box rather than a take-away box, and it’s very handy to take restaurant leftovers. It’s surprising how quickly you can wean yourself off single use, so it becomes a very occasional, rather than daily, habit.

The fastest way to bring about collective change is via our demands as a consumer. If we buy products in paper, card, glass and aluminium and shun products in plastic, this will drive the market.



4. Support British grown produce
Remarkably, we import 70% of the apples we eat, when the UK is the most perfect climate for growing apples. We have fallen out of synch with our own climate and lost a great deal of produce in the process. In medieval times we grew a wide variety of pulses, grains and peas. Luckily for us, these are now coming back. Champions of this produce – Hodmedods – has an ever-growing array of beautiful British grown produce for sale. With greater demand for UK grown produce, more farmers will grow it, and less food will be grown to feed to animals (a highly inefficient way to feed people) – a win-win for everyone! Hodmedods also believes in working in harmony with farmers so they are paid fairly and not constantly squeezed on price.


5Eat more plants and eat seasonally
The sheer variety of produce we can get year-round is amazing, but as we are starting to realise, very unsustainable. Market forces have driven these unsustainable import and export practices. Whilst it is true that simply by being vegan you will lower your emissions, not all vegetables are equal. It’s important to understand the cycle of the seasons and eat veg in harmony with that. Imported food isn’t always bad, but the mode of transport is important. Slow is good, fast is bad. So, if something is not in season here, and it has a short shelf life, 100% it will have been flown here – so best to avoid it. 

Here is a delicious, plant-based, low carbon, recipe using UK grown produce, to get you started: 

Yellow Pea Hummus

Hummus is one of the nation’s best loved dips, but chickpeas do not grow very well in our climate, so they are nearly all imported. The good news is British yellow peas grow amazingly well here, they make a fantastic hummus, and they are even more nutritious than chickpeas. They also blend a lot better, which is one of the main reasons I never made chickpea hummus at home – I just couldn’t get that whipped consistency with chick peas. The yellow peas do it perfectly though. Making a pot of this every week instead of buying plastic and cardboard wrapped deli pots from the supermarket, will instantly improve your sustainable credentials.

Ingredients● 250 grams cooked whole British yellow peas (buy from Hodmedods, soak for 5 hours, drain and cover with fresh water and boil for 45 mins, drain and retain the drained water)● 60 ml lemon juice● 60 ml tahini● 1 small garlic clove● 30 ml British oil● 1/2 tsp ground cumin● Salt to taste (start with ½ tsp)● 50 to 90 ml pea cooking water


Add the first 7 ingredients to a blender and blend for 2 minutes. Then with the blender still turning, add 50ml of the pea water slowly. Blend until very smooth. 




Louise Palmer-Masterton is founder of multiple award-winning, plant-based restaurants Stem & Glory. With established sites in London and Cambridge, and a third site planned for London’s Broadgate in 2022, Stem & Glory offers eat-in, click-and-collect and local delivery, as well as a well-stocked vegan bar. Stem & Glory is also the first UK restaurant to pledge to be carbon negative by end of 2021 and was recently celebrated as one of the UK Governments ‘Heroes of Net Zero’ at a COP26 awards ceremony. www.stemandglory.uk

Louise Palmer-Masterton

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