Time to throw a veggie pattie on the barbie

Image source: plan59.com

The headline news in The Observer today is that we have to cut back on meat consumption if we want to get serious about addressing climate change. This ‘controversial’ statement (according to the article) made by the Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, is old news and it is amazing it hasn’t been given the airplay it deserves. Meat production accounts for around 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions from the production of animal feeds, but also from the farts of livestock! A bigger worry is that meat consumption has quadrupled in the last 50 years and is on course to increase even more dramatically as China and India get richer and demand for higher protein diets increases (maybe less so in India given the religious factors governing vegetarianism). Although meat is rich in protein, other good sources are potatoes, whole wheat bread, rice, broccoli, spinach, almonds, peas, chickpeas, peanut butter, tofu (soybean curd), soymilk, lentils and kale. Far more protein per hectare can be produced this way than through raising livestock. Not only this, but far less water is required. According to John Robbins, it roughly takes 60, 108, 168, 229 pounds of water to produce a pound of potatoes, wheat, corn and rice respectively. He reports that a pound of beef however, requires 12,000 gallons of water.