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Retro Is Eco: A 1970s Lifestyle Could Protect the Planet

Want to stop climate change? Start by trying to fit into a pair of vintage bell bottoms.

A new study reveals that if the current world population was more like that of the 1970s (aka slimmer), there would be less pollution.

The report uses the UK as a case study. In the 1970s only 3.5 percent of the British population was classified as obese. Today, 40 percent of Britons fit that description.

While this larger reality undoubtedly has serious health consequences, researchers wanted to know how the weight gain impacts the environment.

Compared to the 1970s, the UK consumes 19 percent more food. The increase in food production equates to an extra 60 mega tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. There are also not-so-obvious consequences. Thanks to a heavier population, much more fuel is needed to transport modern-sized people.

So how can we get back to the environmental friendly ways (and weights) of the 1970s? Think green —as in vegetables. Three decades ago people ate larger portions of vegetables and smaller portions of meat. They also engaged in more physical activity back in the day. Can you dig it?


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Smaller humans may have been kinder to the Earth in the 70s, but the reason people are fatter and the earth is sadder may be interconnected. The use and density of factory farms has increased, so food production is dirtier, and it's cheaper to produce food in ways that hurt the earth. So meat is cheaper than it should be if the full cost to all of us were included in the price you pay at the store. Technology has improved the quality of convenient frozen food, and people are able to eat more fatty foods that are cheaply produced and both the production method and the increased consumption are bad news for the environment. The fact that we're getting fatter is bad for the planet, but that statement should not be taken as "blaming" the overweight. We're gaining weight because unhealthy food is cheap and plentiful, new cities and suburbs are built for transportation by cars-ONLY. We need to solve the underlying problems causing people to get fatter to save the Earth.
Seitan Seitan 8 years
I think bell-bottoms are cute. :(
janneth janneth 8 years
Theory: eating in a kitchen that looked like that would kill your appetite; you would eat less.
janneth janneth 8 years
If 40% are obese, there are still more who are merely overweight. People do eat too much everything, esp meat, and it takes its toll on our planet. There are consequences in every aspect of our society.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
You need to give more context, Tres. Compared to the 1970s, the UK consumes 19 percent more food. Well, that's fabulous, but compared to 1970, the population is 42% bigger, which makes it seem like the increase in population is larger than the increase in food consumption, doesn't it? I mean, I agree that we should be healthier, but your facts are faulty when you present them.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I wouldn't blame a certain sector of people on pollution. Every little thing we do can contribute to pollution. Their point is valid, but pollution can be blamed on tons of things.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Um...I think people were thin BECAUSE they wanted to fit into bell bottoms [which are NOT forgiving if you've got hips. they're "hip-huggers" for a reason, NOT hip-crushers], not the other way around? What about the fitness craze of the 80s? Will shoulder pads and Flashdance gear save us too? There are better, MODERN ways of going about protecting our environment. They're only expensive now because there's a lot of money that stands to be made.
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
Ha, blaming pollution on fat people? You gotta love pointing the finger.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
you wouldnt catch me dead in bell bottoms, not even as a joke or costume!
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