UN scientists present us one quick strategy to reduce our effect on the environment Do you know the United nations calculated that the combined climate change emissions of animals bred for their meat were greater than cars, planes and other types of transport put together? In an article published in July 2010 from the Guardian.co.uk, leading journalist John Vidal reported how vegetarianism can aid save our planet by eating less meat. Behind most of the joints of beef or chicken on our plates is a phenomenally wasteful, land and energy hungry system of farming that devastates nature, pollutes oceans, rivers, seas and atmosphere.
We mostly breed four species (chickens, cows, lambs and pigs) all of which need vast amounts of food and water, emit methane as well as other greenhouse gases and produce mountains of physical waste. During the past year, the United nations calculated the combined climate change emissions of animals bred for their meat were about 18% of the global total – greater than cars, planes and all other kinds of transport put together. A Bangladeshi family living off rice, beans, vegetables and fruit may live on an acre of land or less, while the average American, who consumes around 270 pounds of meat annually, needs 20 times that.
Academics have calculated that if the grain fed to animals in western countries were consumed directly by people rather than animals, we could feed twice as many people – and possibly far more – as we do now. Eating a steak or a chicken points to an abnormal water consumption, that the animal has needed to live and grow. Vegetarian author John Robbins calculates a pound of beef needs around 20,000lbs of water. Farming, which uses 70% of water accessible to humans, is already in direct competition for water with cities. Industrial scale agriculture now dominates the western livestock and poultry industries, and a single farm can now generate as much waste as a city.
Farming animals generate manure and urine which is funnelled into massive waste lagoons sometimes holding as many as 40m gallons. These cesspools often break, leak or overflow, polluting underground water supplies and rivers with nitrogen, phosphorus and nitrates. A meat diet is normally considered twice as expensive as a vegetarian one. According to the Vegetarian Society, meat-eaters get increased probabilities of obesity, cancers, heart diseases and other illnesses as well as a hole in the pocket. So what now? How can we start to contribute save our world? Here a simple and quick recipe to get a good meat substitute, the Tofu and Green Onion Veggie Burger This healthy tofu-based veggie burger receive an additional nutritional boost from wheat germ. This recipe is both vegetarian and vegan.
TOFU-BASED VEGGIE BURGER
- 1/2 container firm or extra firm tofu, mashed
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 green onions, diced
- 2 tbs wheat germ
- 2 tbs flour
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- dash pepper
- oil for frying
Preparation: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Form into patties. Fry patties in oil in a large skillet until brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.