Meatless Monday is upon us once again. I’ve decided that every Meatless Monday I’ll try to explain one reason why we should be eating less meat as a population, until I run out of reasons. This will take many weeks, I assure you. Just want to be clear, I’m not advocating that everyone become a complete vegan, but that a plant-based diet, at least a diet with less animal products than is typical today, would be better for all people, animals, and our planet in the long run. But I’ll start with my cooking ventures.
I really wanted to make roasted brussel sprouts this week because I haven’t had them in a while, and they’re simply divine. If you haven’t tried them, please try them immediately! They put yucky steamed brussel sprouts to shame. I actually left them in the oven for too long (who knew you were supposed to take them out as soon as you turn off the oven? =P), but they turned out just the way I like them, nice and caramelized. I made a sauce with olive oil, horseradish, and dill to pour over them, which tasted awesome.
For the main course I made a barley risotto with cannellini beans, kale, and parmesan cheese, according to this recipe from Whole Foods. It turned out great; the picture did not, but it gives you the idea.
I did everything myself this week except the salt and pepper seasoning in the risotto–my mom still knows what and how much to add by tasting much better than I do. But I’m feeling much more confident about cooking now. Next week I’m thinking Indian =).
Now to address the title of this post. When you think of global warming, you probably think of pollution from factories, transportation, and other fossil fuel-burning machines. Today when I mentioned this to my mom, she was surprised, as I imagine you are, to discover that beef production contributes more to global warming than all forms of transportation combined. It takes 18 times more fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of protein from beef than to produce 1 calorie of protein from corn or soybeans. One can only imagine how much more carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere that amounts to. And let’s not forget that clearing fields to produce grain for livestock feed and for cows to graze removes trees and rainforests that could help absorb some of the extra CO2.
At least an equally dangerous problem is that of methane emissions caused by beef production. When cows fart, they emit methane, which is a greenhouse gas 24 times more potent than carbon dioxide. I understand it may be hard to take this seriously, but apparently cows fart a lot, enough that livestock are responsible for 25% of the world’s human-based methane emissions. Methane levels in the atmosphere have tripled over the last century. All those greenhouse gases are pushing the temperature of the earth up faster and faster. I imagine I don’t have to tell you how catastrophic the consequences of global warming will be if we don’t act to reverse these trends now.
Eating a plant based diet–eating less meat period–will reduce your carbon footprint more than any other change you could make.
Try Meatless Mondays! I’m gonna keep nagging you til you do.
What will it take for you to eat less meat? Seriously, I want to know.