Today, April 22, is the 43rd annual Earth Day! This year’s Earth Day focus is on climate change, and how it affects individuals around the globe. Leading up to Earth Day, organizers have been collecting “images of people, animals, and places directly affected or threatened by climate change”—giving faces to climate change.
Our choices matter
Just as climate change can impact us as individuals, we too can impact climate change. One of the easiest change we can make in our lives to help the earth is to our diets—primarily by reducing our meat consumption. It is estimated that animal agriculture accounts for between 10 and 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is huge. More importantly, however, is that if everyone chose to eat less meat these numbers could be drastically reduced.
Make it work
Is your family pretty “meat and potatoes”? Start by cutting out meat one day per week. Swap ground beef for veggie ground round in spaghetti and tacos, or soy-based “chicken” strips in stir-fries and pasta. There’s a good chance your family won’t even notice the difference. Legumes, too, are a great substitution. For example, I often skip the veggie ground round and instead add lentils or chickpeas to my spaghetti sauce.
More seasoned swapper? Try your hand with tofu and lesser-known alternatives such as tempeh and seitan. These protein-packed ingredients aren’t trying to be meat; however, they add the protein and texture that we often crave without meat in our meals.
Completely meat-free? Try reducing your intake of other animal products, such as dairy and eggs, production of which also creates greenhouse gases.
Feast it up for Earth Day
In celebration of Earth Day 2013, cook your family up a delicious meat-free dinner. The following menu is not only vegetarian, but also is simple enough to throw together on a Monday night.