Hello to a new decade and a new perspective on the future of the United Kingdom and the world (with more focus on the oceans, we hope, following COP25). It’s a good opportunity – as we often hear at this time of year – for self-reflection, and a chance to consider some lifestyle changes to improve body and mind. A good start, perhaps, is to look down at our plates.

For some inspiration, I recommend a moment of quiet contemplation on a sardine-loving resident of the Galápagos islands: the blue-footed booby.

During his high-stepping mating dance, the male booby showcases the blueness of his feet. For good reason. Research shows that the bluer the feet, the healthier the male and the better his fathering skills. The colour itself comes from carotenoid pigment, which the birds get from their diet. Numbers have dropped by over a quarter since the 1960s, a tragedy researchers believe is due to a fall in sardine numbers and a rise in marine plastic.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with New Year’s resolutions? As humans, what we eat and what we don’t eat is not necessarily reflected in our figures. It is, however, seen in the environment around us: the smouldering remains of rainforest to make way for soya plantations – see Frontline: Bolsonaro Receives ‘Racist of the Year’ Award – overfished seas, run-off from intensive agriculture…

So, what if we give up the things that are feeding much of this destruction and go vegan? In this issue of Resurgence & Ecologist we explore this question. We speak to broadcaster Chris Packham about his vegan journey, we look at the impact of veganism on mitigating the climate crisis, and we find out why more followers of Jainism are going dairy-free.

Elsewhere in the magazine we look at the impact of other lifestyle choices, from an exhibition in Norway unpicking fast fashion (Arts: A Question of Style) to Calum Harvey-Scholes’ discussion of the destructive nature of the aviation industry and how we can build a just transport system (Keynotes: Flying in the Face of Reason). We dish up a delicious vegan bean feast with Miriam Sorrell and take a minute with poet Matt Harvey to appreciate the whirr of a wind turbine.

We might not be able to see the impact of our food in the colour of our feet, but it’s certainly visible in our footprints. Let’s hope, as we move forward into a new decade, we look back at these footprints and learn from them.

Marianne Brown is Editor of Resurgence & Ecologist