Environmental Reasons to Eat Less Meat

Everyone knows it’s healthier for humans to eat less meat and more vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts but did you know it’s also healthier for the environment?  We need to be good stewards of the earth that God has provided for us.
1. Save our Air – Reduce global warming 
    Worldwide consumption of meat is rising causing rainforest destruction and increasing greenhouse gases.  Rainforests are the earth’s filters and by cutting them down to make more pasture land for livestock, we are destroying one of the best methods of dealing with excess pollutants.  Methane gases produced by livestock and CO2 produced by the related machinery are a huge percentage of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming.
2. Save our land
    30% of our earth’s land surface is used for livestock.  This is 70% of all agricultural land use.  If we could reduce these numbers for livestock not only would it help prevent deforestation and erosion from overgrazing but it would help feed people around the world.  The grain alone used to feed the world’s livestock could feed 800 million people.
3. Save our water
    It takes 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef.  With clean water being such a precious commodity wouldn’t it make more sense to use this same amount of water to produce 50 pounds of wheat?  In addition, the pollution from the runoff of livestock manure and the antibiotics and hormones they are given severely harm our delicate river and stream ecosystems.  Our oceans are vulnerable also to the unsustainable fishing industry practices that contribute to pollution and over fishing that depletes the biodiversity of  75% of our earth’s surface.
If there’s only one thing you can do:
Try cutting back on the amount of meat you eat.  Vegetarians (those who eat no meat or fish) can get all the protein and nutrients they need by eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and dairy products and this in fact has been shown to be a healthier diet.  We aren’t asking you to go cold turkey (pun intended) but if everyone reduced the amount of meat they ate it would have a huge impact on our health as well’s as our earth’s health.  With access to the internet you have thousands of recipes at your fingertips if you just search for “easy vegetarian meals”, www.foodgawker.com is one of my favorite websites for all recipes.  Here are a couple simple recipes to get you started.
Spinach Black Bean Lasagna
10 lasagna noodles – cooked
1 or 2 cans of beans – drained and rinsed
16 oz. frozen chopped spinach – thawed and drained
15 oz. cottage cheese
4 Tbs. parmesan cheese
Favorite pasta sauce
spices to your taste
Mozzarella for topping
*Cook lasagna noodles, mix together beans, spinach and cheeses.  In 9 x 13 pan, layer noodles, filling and then sauce, repeat once.  Cook at 375 until bubbly about 30 minutes.  Top with mozzarella, cook til melted.
Caribbean Rice and Beans
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion
2 bell peppers
1 jalapeno (optional)
2 garlic cloves – minced
2 cans beans – drained and rinsed
2 Tbs. vinegar
5-10 dashes of Tabasco
3 cups cooked rice (1 cup raw) – cooked in water or veggie broth
spices to your taste
*In large pan, heat oil and saute onions, peppers and garlic for 2 minutes. Add beans, vinegar, Tabasco and spices and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in rice and then serve.