The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Eat Your Veggies! Save the Planet!

OK. It’s too late for Thanksgiving, but there’s at least one other somewhat turkey-centric holiday coming down the pike. (In the gastronomic sense, at least.) So, I gotta do this.

I’m not sure why this article, which is over a year old, showed up in my RSS reader today, but what kind of vegetarian would I be if I didn’t remind people that eating your veggies is good for you and the planet?

Production and consumption of meat worldwide has more than tripled since 1961 and could double from now until 2050 as standards of living increase and the population doubles.

As a result, vast swaths of forest are being cleared for pastures, robbing the planet of trees, which absorb carbon dioxide. Cattle and sheep also release vast amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations produced startling findings: The animals’ burps, the nitrous oxide gases from their decomposing manure and other factors, including the energy needed to store and transport meat, were responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire transportation sector.

Meat producers say they already have made significant changes to reduce the impact of their industry – in part by ensuring that cattle, sheep and pigs spend less time on farms before they are slaughtered.

That’s a year-old article, but the link between meat-eating and greenhouse gases is still causing concern.

The cows and pigs dotting these flat green plains in the southern Netherlands create a bucolic landscape. But looked at through the lens of greenhouse gas accounting, they are living smokestacks, spewing methane emissions into the air.

That is why a group of farmers-turned-environmentalists here at a smelly but impeccably clean research farm have a new take on making a silk purse from a sow’s ear: They cook manure from their 3,000 pigs to capture the methane trapped within it, and then use the gas to make electricity for the local power grid.

Rising in the fields of the environmentally conscious Netherlands, the Sterksel project is a rare example of fledgling efforts to mitigate the heavy emissions from livestock. But much more needs to be done, scientists say, as more and more people are eating more meat around the world.

What to do about farm emissions is one of the main issues being discussed this week and next, as the environment ministers from 187 nations gather in Poznan, Poland, for talks on a new treaty to combat global warming. In releasing its latest figure on emissions last month, United Nations climate officials cited agriculture and transportation as the two sectors that remained most “problematic.”

Interesting solution, and maybe one we should consider here in the U.S. since our emissions went up in 2007.

We’ll have to wait a while, I think, before “poop power” catches on in the U.S. So I recommend giving Tofurky a try.I’m contemplating making one, since my family is staying put for the holidays this year, instead of traveling. And Meat eaters I’ve spoken to who have tried it have liked it. Plus it’s much less messy, with no innards you nave to dispose of.

Or, if that’s not your cup of tea, I recommend the stuffed acorn squash recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook.

Besides, how can you be sure your “bird” isn’t one of these poor creatures?

Right. See ya at the grocery story. In the frozen foods aisle. By the Tofurky. (If you get there first, save me one?)

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