Can Vegans Save The World?
September 2016 will go down in history. Why, you may ask? Well, we have hit a landmark that may not be easily reversed. A devastating historical landmark. If that sounds scary, your right, it is. So, I'm going to give it to you straight. Our atmosphere is suffocating. This past September we crossed the threshold of 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
Scientists are finding it even more alarming because September, in general, is a month where carbon dioxide is reduced in the atmosphere because plants and trees are thriving after summer, and sucking up carbon dioxide. But after September, when the leaves begin to fall from the trees and plants die off for the winter, which releases carbon into the atmosphere, carbon levels begin to rise again. These days, at a rate that's unprecedented. I'm no scientist, but I find this alarming too.
It is time for us to be concerned about climate change. Not just to be concerned, but actually do something about it! But what can be done?
Since the beginning of human life on this planet, the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has hovered around 275 ppm. That is how our planet has sustained life earth, and species have adapted. When the industrial revolution began and we began to burn coal oil and gas to produce energy and products, those numbers began to creep up. At first it was a slow climb, but it's become faster and faster. And here we are now, at 400 ppm. And we're still adding 2 ppm each year. The effects on our atmosphere are becoming more evident as we brace ourselves for hurricanes and tropical storms, and watch the icecaps melt at alarming rates.
So what can we do?
Yep, that's right.
Did you know that more than 14% of global greenhouse emissions are caused by livestock alone? It's true. According to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, if every person on earth adopted a vegan diet, without milk, meat, honey, or any other animal-sourced foods, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the food system in the year 2050 would fall by more than half compared to 2005-2007 levels.
And a report by the Dietary Guidelines advisory Committee said, "Consistent evidence indicates that, in general, a dietary pattern that is hight in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods ...is associated with lesser environmental impact than is the current average U.S. diet."
Oh sure, there are definitely more ways to be environmentally friendly.
- Firstly, we must get involved in making a change. Speak up to our governments regarding using clean energy. Talk to friends and neighbors about these issues.
- Besides eating more plants instead of animals, we can and should be buying and eating food that is more locally sourced. Getting our food closer to home can have a significant impact on shipping and packaging, which in turn can impact the environment.
- You can also look into carbon offsetting. Check out websites like carbonneutral.com and terrapass.com. to find out more info. The more we become aware, and the more little things we do daily can make a difference. Grassroots campaigns can be empowering, because we come to know and act on a deeply personal level.
For me though, I feel like I am contributing in making a difference by eating plants, many of them home grown or bought at my local farmers market. I've always loved the saying by Oprah Winfrey, "Once we know better, we do better." Now that we know better, it's time to do better. It's time to go vegan and save the world!
Butternut Squash, Kale and Black Bean Soup
This soup is a spicy, hearty addition to your soup line-up. The herbs and spices in this make it a unique go to for your next soup night!
- 1 Small butternut squash, cubed
- 1/2 Onion, diced
- 1/2 Red pepper, diced
- 1 Carrot, diced
- 1 Large clove of garlic or 2 small cloves, diced small
- 1/2 Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 Small head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 Small bunch of kale, cut into bitesize pieces
- 2 Cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 32 Oz. organic box vegetable broth
- 2 Cups of water
- 1 TBS red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 Cup of precooked rice or pasta
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 Bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- In a large dutch oven, saute squash for 5 minutes in a light vegetable oil. I use grape seed oil. Then add onion, pepper, carrot, broccoli and cauliflower and saute for another 5 minutes, until all veggies are getting soft.
- I like to salt and pepper at this point to get some depth of flavor
- Add garlic, stirring so the garlic doesn't stick.
- After a minute or two, add the beans, stirring to combine.
- This is when I like to add the spices, stirring gently, making sure to coat all the vegetables
- Now add the broth, water and red wine vinegar and bring to a simmer
- Once the liquid is hot, add kale
- Also add rice or pasta, if using pasta, be sure not to let the soup boil, you don't want soggy noodles!
- Now is the time to taste and adjust seasonings. You may like a little more cumin, cinnamon, or salt and pepper.