Earth Day 2013
Hello, happy weekend to you and welcome to Earth Day 2013. Congratulations on being part of the movement which is helping to save our planet. MM is gaining momentum worldwide and catching on in communities across the U.S. and elsewhere. For the first time on record, per capita meat consumption in the U.S. has decreased every year for four years in a row, partly because of the MM and "flexitarian" movements. (Unfortunately, emerging economies like China and Brazil are going in the opposite direction.)
When we think of Earth Day and climate change, we tend to think of fossil fuel emissions and their impact on global warming. And it's true that they do have an impact. If you'd like to confront the terrifying math on climate change related to carbon dioxide and our fossil fuel reserves, I refer you to this very useful infographic. At current levels of fossil fuel consumption, we will reach our "safe limit" of carbon use (or "carbon budget" as they refer to it) in 13 years. With the amount of fossil fuel reserves already stored by oil and gas companies, we can already break that budget and look forward to 3-4% average temperature increases and New York City being knee-deep in sea water. This self-destruction has to stop.
But believe it or not, our best chance for reversing climate change is linked to what we're putting in our mouths, namely meat (in case you doubted it for a second). According to World Bank Group environmental experts Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions can be directly tied to livestock production. Partly this is because animal agriculture is a fossil fuel intensive system. This is their conclusion from the article linked above:
"Consequently, state the pair, replacing livestock products with meat alternatives would 'have far more rapid effects on greenhouse gas emissions and their atmospheric concentrations — and thus on the rate the climate is warming — than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.'"
So here we are, taking action in the area where we can contribute the most effectively to reducing and eventually reversing climate change. Never mind recycling or hybrid vehicles or cloth bags at the grocery store... what's for dinner?
For this Earth Day Monday dinner, I recommend this week's recipe. It is an old favourite from my sister-in-law's family, who passed it on. You can get all of the ingredients at an Indian food supply store if you have trouble finding them at your local supermarket. Hope you enjoy saving the planet and this recipe.