Mothers, you can save our planet!
In many homes, mothers have the secret power to change the eating habits of the whole family. While some moms follow a weekly meal plan, others ask their children or spouses about their food preferences every day. Many children these days are picky eaters and instinctively mothers want to see their children eat something rather than nothing at all. Ignoring this temptation is important and we must plan our meals which are healthy not only for humans but also for our planet. Experts suggest that the production of red meat has harmful effects on the environment and that we should turn to plant-based diets. Introducing kids to a plant-based diet might seem like a Herculean task, but you can make it a fun activity by thinking slightly outside the box. Some ideas for kids include barbecue cauliflower bites, broccoli pasta, a dairy-free, vegetable-based cheese sandwich, a fruit salad with yogurt, and more.
Our little attention can go a long way and we can make a huge difference by acting collectively to save our planet. If we decide to prepare our meals in a socially responsible manner, our future generations will be grateful for the opportunity to live healthier and happier lives on a planet that would be gentler to them. Some key principles for planning meals in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way include reducing consumption of meat and dairy products, avoiding processed foods high in sugar and fat, using fruits and seasonal vegetables, incorporating beans and lentils into your menu and not wasting food. .
In a welcome development recently, Pakistan officially joined more than 80 countries that signed up to the US-led global methane pledge at the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26) this year. They agreed to cut methane emissions by 30% by the end of this decade in order to fight climate change. This is an important step towards achieving the Paris Agreement target of preventing a temperature rise of 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels.
However, we must be cautiously optimistic about this commitment as Russia, China and India, which are major emitters of methane, are not part of this plan. When some world leaders disappoint us, as responsible citizens of this planet, our mothers can commit to realizing our methane footprint and making an effort to reduce it. In general, carbon dioxide receives a lot of attention as a greenhouse gas, but very few people talk about methane, which is also a major greenhouse gas. Methane is more than 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. According to one estimate, nearly 60% of all methane emissions in the world come from human activities, which gives us an opportunity to take action against global warming. Managing methane emissions can be an important part of our short-term climate change strategy in order to have immediate benefits for our planet.
The main sources of methane emissions from human activities are agriculture and animal husbandry, oil and gas industries, landfills, wastewater treatment and emissions from coal mines. Methane is produced by livestock such as cows, sheep and goats as part of their normal digestive process. Humans are engaged in raising these animals for food and other products, resulting in increased methane emissions from these human activities. Emissions from beef and milk production account for 35 and 30 percent of emissions from the livestock sector globally. With a growing population and increasing demand for meat and dairy products, methane emissions are increasing in our environment.
Our atmosphere naturally processes methane by destroying it when it reaches the stratosphere. Soil also acts as a natural sink for methane where it is processed by bacteria. The problem arises when methane is produced faster than it can be destroyed. As man is responsible for excessive methane production, it is also our responsibility to help our planet by reducing methane emissions. Possible ways to achieve this include alternative feeds for livestock that inhibit or reduce methane emissions, reducing meat and dairy production, and reducing food waste. Another way to alleviate the problem is to use biogas systems by turning livestock and food waste into energy. Biogas, instead of releasing methane into the atmosphere as a harmful greenhouse gas, converts it into a clean, renewable energy source.
In countries whose economies depend on agriculture like India and Pakistan, discussions on reducing methane emissions from agriculture and livestock are becoming a sensitive topic. However, these conversations are important because we cannot achieve the desired goal of reducing greenhouse gases in our environment if we do not have the support of the major emitters of methane. A recent study published last year cited India as the third largest source of methane emissions. India may not consume a lot of beef, but it does have a large cattle population that emits methane. A huge challenge for countries will be to implement policies to reorganize their agricultural models and convince millions of farmers to adopt new ways respectful of our environment.
An August 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on climate change and land includes a policy recommendation to reduce meat consumption and mentions plant-based diets as a major opportunity to mitigate climate change. If industries are not required to manage their methane emissions, citizens and consumers will have to take responsibility. One of the ways to reduce our methane footprint is to reduce the consumption of meat, especially red meat. Eating less beef is good for both human health and the health of our planet.
Moms, you can take action now to save us! You can not only help reduce our existing methane footprint, but also the potential one in the future by raising children who learn to eat in a climate-friendly and socially responsible way. Maybe we can start with small steps and commit to incorporating a key principle for sustainable meals, which is to reduce our consumption of red meat.