Today pawrents and pooches will gather to celebrate Earth Day which started more than 50 years ago to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the planet we share. Now, as we face unprecedented global warming with scientists warning that we’re on the cusp of irreversible climate change, it’s never been more important to take action. After all, we can’t fetch another planet!
This year’s Earth Day theme is ‘Invest in our Planet’, so here are six ways you and your pup can invest together. Paws up if you’re with us!
1. Take THE PACK Plant Pact
You have read earlier that this Earth Day we’re asking dogs around the world to add more plants into their bowl with THE PACK Plant Pact. Dogs can start small by swapping meaty treats for plant-based treats, or go flexitarian (or as we like to say, flexi-dogian) and split meaty food with plant-based food. Or maybe they’re ready to go all the way and switch over to a nutritionally complete plant-based food full-time! By taking this pact, dogs will lower their environmental pawprint and help to save our planet. After all, what self-respecting pooch wants to live in a world without trees to wee on.
2. Take Stock Of Your Carbon Pawprint
Most of us are aware that we have a carbon footprint: a total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that we’re responsible for, through car or plane journeys we make, clothes we buy and food we eat. But we rarely factor in the carbon pawprints of our dogs, despite the fact that the pet food industry produces almost 3% of the total carbon dioxide emissions from farming. That’s the same amount of CO2 produced by a sixth of all global flights! That’s ruff.
Why is pet food so damaging? Because conventional dog and cat diets rely so heavily on meat. For years now, scientists have been telling us that meat is one of the biggest drivers of human-induced climate change, accounting for nearly 60% of all GHGs from food production. Roughly a quarter of calories from all animal meat consumed in the US are now eaten by pets, meaning if all the dogs and cats in America had their own country, it would rank fifth in terms of global meat consumption. In fact, the environmental pawprint of a 70-pound golden retriever eating a raw meat diet is almost twice the environmental footprint of an average meat-eating human. And making meat-based food for cats and dogs uses up a land mass twice the size of the UK, every year!
Realising that what we feed our dogs is as impactful as what we put on our own plates is the first step in making pawsitive change for the planet.
3. Enjoy A Plant-Based Meal Together
Of course, we can take action to offset our carbon impacts, like signing petitions to tell businesses to stop deforestation or getting involved in local planting. After all, we need to save those trees so our pups can pee on them!
But while offsetting is good, are we barking up the wrong tree? Isn’t reducing that carbon pawprint even better? Well, the simplest way to do that is to reduce or remove the meat in your pup’s bowl. Cutting meat from both your diets, even just once or twice a week, can make a huge difference to global warming, land and water use, and deforestation. Plant-based pet food requires fewer natural resources and produces less GHG emissions. For example, the ingredients in a can of regular beef-based dog food produce over 17 times more CO2, uses 10 times more water and 80 times more land than those in a can of THE PACK’s No-Moo Ragu!
Worried that plant-based dog food is a bit… bonkers? Don’t be! Whether your four-legged friend is a fully-fledged vegan hound or a flexitarian, as omnivores, dogs can not only safely eat meat-free meals but they can gain scientifically proven health benefits from doing so.
If you're vegan yourself and you switch your 70-pound retriever to a plant-based diet for a year, together you could save 2,200 gallons of water, about 90 pounds of grain and about 60 square feet of rainforest. So why not make at least one day meat-free for both you and your pooch? We’ll bet they’ll be barking for butternut squash and howling for hemp seeds before you know it!
4. Go On A Climate Protest
Is your pooch a climate puptivist? If your dog loves people and getting stuck into the action, going campaigning together is a fantastic way to sniff out climate change and tell governments and businesses to invest in a better future. Find out what’s happening near you and join your local community to stand hand in paw, united in the fight to save our planet!
If your dog is more of a lone wolf or simply the retiring type, you can still get involved by making an Earth Day window sign together. Advocate for the planet from your home by howling your support and giving your neighbours information about how they can help. To spread the bark even further, take a photo of your doggo with his or her sign, and share it on your social media, tagging @thepackpet or #thepackpet to help raise awareness! You could also include #InvestInOurPlanet, #EarthDay or www.earthday.org on your socials and/or your sign (along with an artistic pawprint, of course!)
5. Choose More Sustainable Food Packaging
If you’re already climate conscious, you’re probably doing all you can to reduce your own plastic use, choosing recyclable, biodegradable or compostable packaging, or even shopping at zero waste stores. These are all amazing ways to invest in our planet. But what about the packaging our dog food comes in? Plastic layers and metallic foils abound in a bid to keep food fresh for longer, yet these materials almost always end up in landfill. Unfurgivable, if you ask us…
Here at THE PACK, we’re doing things differently, so that you can rest easy knowing your pup’s food is sustainable inside and out. Our cans are one of the most widely recycled packaging types available, metal being a circular material, and the funky triangular paper multipack is fully recyclable too. Even better, our corrugated material typically contains 70% recycled content!
6. Turn Your Dog Walk Into A Clean-Up
Unfortunately, not all packaging is created equal when it comes to sustainability; take a look outside and we’ll bet you’ll see at least one piece of litter, probably plastic. Investing in the planet means working together to clear up all this waste that’s suffocating our wildlife and polluting our environment. Like all responsible pawrents, you’re already picking up and disposing of your pup’s poop in biodegradable bags. But why not make your daily walk into a daily clean-up too? While your dog savours a leisurely sniffari, you can beautify the route by removing any rubbish you spot, leaving the area spotless for next time.
Once you’ve got a taste for it, you and your pooch might want to sniff out an event with The Great Global Cleanup®, a worldwide campaign to remove billions of pieces of rubbish from neighbourhoods, beaches, rivers and parks. When we join up as a community, two-legged and four-legged, anything is pawsible! So let’s work together to reduce waste and plastic pollution, improve habitats, and prevent harm to wildlife, dogs and humans.
Of course, these ideas are only tickling the surface: for a really satisfying ear scratch, check out the official 52 Earth Day tips and the organisation’s handy Toolkits for action. As they say, start small and go big, or start big and stay big!
Either way, the time is now to take actions that will have huge impacts on the future lives of our puppies, our puppies’ puppies, and their puppies’ puppies.
The future is at the bottom of your dog bowl. Get 20% off THE PACK plant-based dog food using the code EARTH20 at checkout. Just head to our shop here.