Gordon Ramsay Restaurant Occupied by Activists

Last Updated on April 26, 2023 by Ecologica Life

At Restaurant Gordon Ramsay located on Hospital Road in Chelsea, south-west London, members of Animal Rebellion sat at tables reserved for guests. The activists held menus that showed the environmental cost of the food being served. The demonstration, according to a restaurant spokesperson was “very disrespectful”.

Who are Animal Rebellion?

Animal Rebellion are a climate activist group that have some similarities to Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil. The mission of the animal and environmental rights group is to pressure the UK government to adopt a plant-based feeding system. They use the effects of animal agriculture on climate change, species extinction and ecosystem breakdown as reason for implementing such a system.

Animal Rebellion employs tactics of civil disobedience that have led to the imprisonment of some of its members. Graffiti, property damage, obstruction of streets and food distribution, trespassing on cattle industry properties, and destruction of property are some of these tactics. According to the movement’s website, it is nonviolent and targets systems rather than people.

Why Did They Occupy Gordon Ramsay Restaurant?

One of the demands of the group is:

Government must act now to transition to a plant-based food system in order to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

https://animalrebellion.org/demands/

One of the activists, 39-year-old Lucia Alexander, said “This restaurant is the perfect example of the inequality we face in the UK right now. Whilst Gordon Ramsey serves food costing a minimum of 155 pounds per person, more than two million people are relying on food banks in this cost-of-living crisis.”

The group claim that a plant-based food system was “the answer to the cost of living and climate crises”.

Is a plant-based food system the answer to the cost of living and climate crises?

Research shows that the amount of land used worldwide for agriculture would be reduced by 75% if everyone switched to a plant-based diet. This significant decrease in agricultural land use would be made feasible by less grazing land being used and less cropland being required.

Martin Heller, a research specialist at the University of Michigan has said: “There are no silver bullets for climate change. Nothing in isolation will be enough.”

He added that studies showed that even with gracious assumptions in improvements in agricultural production, feeding an anticipated population at anticipated growing demand for animal-based foods by 2050 would occupy “all of the allowable emissions if we are to stay below a 2ÂșC temperature rise”.

Chart showing land use in metres squared required to produce 1000 kilocalories of a given food product

By far the animals that disproportionately use the most type of land are cows and sheep. Therefore, cutting down on these meats and dairy can have a big impact for those who do not wish to stop eating meat altogether. Science has shown that overeating red and processed meat increases your risk of bowel cancer. Processed meat like bacon and hot dogs can boost the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. This means cutting down on red meat or switching it for poultry/fish is beneficial for the environment and your health!

For those who are suffering the cost-of-living crisis. New research from Oxford University has found that adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet might save your monthly food expenses by one-third in high-income nations like the US and the UK.

Flexitarian diets emphasize the addition of plant-based foods in the diet, while still incorporating dairy, eggs and meat but encourages them to be eaten less frequently. According to the research at Oxford, flexitarian diets can still save between 12-14% on your monthly food expenses and contribute significantly less to climate change.

Will Occupying Gordon Ramseys Restaurant Promote the Cause?

Although the research shows that switching to vegeterian or vegan diets will contribute to deaccelerating climate change. Is this type of protest the best for the cause? Indeed, it may gain the group a lot of publicity, but is it the right kind of publicity they are looking for? The guests who made reservations or the workers of the restaurant that night aren’t individually responsible for climate change. Neither are the police officers who had to remove the activists from the site when they could have been out chasing real criminals. Gordon Ramsay is not at fault for opening a high-end restaurant if it sells quality food that people are willing to pay and enjoy.

The fact is we cannot impose our will on others and trying to will make them less likely to understand our point of view. Animal Rebellion want to make demands of the government. But this type of civil unrest is not targeted to government policy nor does is disrupt or affect the government in any way. While this protest was very visible, its effects on government policy are likely to be negligible.

This type of protest will likely cause a lot of polarisation. Individuals will associate the climate change movement with being forced to do something they don’t want to do. Despite what research says, we can’t force people to change their diet, at least not by force. The best way to convince people is to empathise with them, if you want them to change their lifestyle, you should first show them why it is beneficial to them. By imposing your will on others, you are effectively alienating them to the climate change cause. Something that is detrimental in moments such as these when we need mass action on climate change within the next few years.

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