California wild fires - a systemic failure? Today's Saturday morning musings led me to think about the difference between the Californian and Australian responses to what we call bush fires. Then a question from a colleague caused me to dig further.
Large font While Al Gore was busy barnstorming Australian cinemas with his climate change movie, An Inconvenient Truth, last November, a report linking livestock production to greenhouse gas emissions slipped quietly under the radar.
Unless I'm missing something, I didn't see many headlines declaring that meat production generates more greenhouse gas than transport, and is a major source of land and water degradation.
Yet that's exactly what this new report said - and guess what? This report didn't emanate from a 'touchy-feely' animal rights group, but from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.
To avoid things getting worse, says the report, the environmental costs to the planet from livestock need to be halved. Yet if we keep on chewing up animals at our current rate, the planet's annual meat production is predicted to double to a whopping million tonnes by To me, this is one more reason - not necessarily to give meat the chop - but to look at other ways of putting protein on your plate some of the time.
I confess a conflict of interest here - I've avoided meat and poultry for years. That's not to say I deny the health benefits of meat. I believe lean meat in moderation is good food that delivers important nutrients.
It tastes wonderful - the smell of a barbecue on a summer's night can still make my stomach yearn for meat. But I just so dislike the process that puts it on the table, that it's easier to eat lentils instead of lambs.
It began on a farm in Coonamble on an early morning outing with a farmer friend to check on the sheep in his paddock. A pregnant ewe was squealing in pain as she tried to push out her lamb which, instead of emerging head first, was jammed sideways in the birth canal.
I knew how much that hurt - one of my daughters took the same painful detour on her own way into the world. As my friend helped the ewe give birth to her new baby, it occurred to me that she'd endured all that pain just so someone could turn her lamb into chops.
Since then, I've found more reasons to pass up meat - not just the slaughter, but the factory farming, the mindset that treats living things as products, and now the environmental impact.
I don't know what you're having for dinner tonight, but we're having chickpeas simmered with spinach and pasta in a broth fragrant with mint and garlicwith sourdough bread and tzatiki.
I don't see legumes as meat substitutes because I've learned to love them for themselves and not just as stand-ins for something else. I love their earthy flavours, their versatility and convenience always in the cupboard, and you don't have to thaw them. I can take a can of drained chickpeas, cook them with vegetables and cumin, pour the lot over cous cous or rice, and dinner's done in as little as 20 minutes - and nothing had to die.
I can puree them with tahini or yoghurt to make hummus, or I can use them to give guts to a salad of roast vegetables. And talk about cheap - a can of chickpeas will feed two people for about a dollar cheaper still if you soak and cook your chickpeas from scratch.
If you've given up meat what was your turning point - or conversely, if you're a vegetarian who's reverted to eating meat, what made you change your mind? Posted by February 6, 9: Did my own research and Australia is not far behind America Can't let animals suffer unecessarily simply because they're 'tasty' when there are so many other alternatives out there.
Another thing that turned me off it was the astounding amount of evidence against eating meat and dairy for health benefits.
I read up on John Robbins and learned a lot. People forget that the meat industry is just that- big business Basil on February 7, 7: Over this time my vegetarianism has evolved into caring for animals.
I have looked into organic meat as an option I still prepare, cook and serve meat as my husband and kids still eat it but apart from all the "yes, we raise our cows the way nature intends, use sustainable farming methods, and keep our cows separate in the abbatoir", there is no mention of HOW the cow is slaughtered.
If it was humane, I might consider eating a bit of meat here and there, and would certainly buy organic meat if that were the case hang the expense!The Secrets of Egypt, , Roger D.
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