Category Archives: Vegetarian world

Italy’s first Vegetarian City

From vitello tonnato – veal with tuna sauce – to beef braised in the Piedmont region’s most famous red wine, brasato al Barolo, meat dishes have been central to the food tradition of northern Italy for centuries.

But Chiara Appendino, the new mayor of Turin and a force in the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), could be about to change all that with her pledge to promote vegetarian and vegan diets as a “priority” in her administration. According to M5S’s 62-page manifesto – which also called for better urban planning and the protection of public land – Turin’s new mayor said the endorsement of meat-free and even dairy-free living was fundamental to the protection of the environment, health, and the wellbeing of animals. While the specifics of the strategy have not been disclosed, the city is expected to set up educational projects in schools to teach students about animal welfare and nutrition.

The move is unprecedented in Italian municipal government, but is in keeping with the views of the eurosceptic M5S. The party espouses some progressive values, such as environmentalism, conservation and green energy, but is ambiguous on migration and did not support a recent extension of parental rights to LGBT Italians. Earlier, Luigi di Maio, the deputy speaker of the Italian parliament – who would likely lead the M5S in the next general election – celebrated his 30th birthday by indulging in a vegan cake. Though Beppe Grillo, the M5S founder and a former comedian, has said eating meat is part of his nature, his widely followed blog has occasionally praised the vegetarian diet, including a post on the Leonard0 Di Caprio-produced documentary Cowspiracy, and an article that promoted vegetarianism at childcare centres.

Appendino’s surprise victory in June, in which she handily defeated the incumbent Democrat Piero Fassino, has made the 31-year-old the darling of M5S. But the new mayor’s rallying cry against meat could still backfire. The news was met with some ridicule on Twitter, where she faced accusations of attempting to create a nanny state. “If you disobey [the mayor’s agenda] in Turin you’ll go to bed without dinner”, said one tweet. Another critic pointed out that the mayor’s agenda lacked any mention of industry, even though Turin is the longtime home of carmakers Fiat and Alfa Romeo and is considered Italy’s industrial heartland.



Norwegian Army Placed On Strict Vegetarian Diet

The Norwegian military has announced plans to introduce ‘meatless Mondays’ into army diets, in a bid to battle a more unusual enemy – climate change. Troops will be placed on a strict vegetarian diet once a week to reduce the amount of ecologically unfriendly foods they eat, whose production can contribute heavily to global warming.

Military spokesperson Eystein Kvarving told AFP the move was “a step to protect our climate”. He said: “The idea is to serve food that’s respectful of the environment.” Kvarving said the initiative was not designed around saving money, but was instead about “being more concerned for our climate, more ecologically friendly and also healthier.” The new dietary regime has been trialled at some of Norway’s larger bases and military bosses now plan to roll it out across all units. They hope to reduce their meat consumption by 150 tonnes per year.
Their scheme has been praised by The Future in Our Hands (FOH), a Norwegian organisation that aims to reduce the consumption of natural resources by society. FOH claim an average Norwegian will eat more than 1,200 animals in their lifetime. ”The defence ministry deserves a lot of praise because it’s taking climate and environmental issues seriously”, the group’s director, Arild Hermstad told AFP.



A Fully Vegetarian Village

ItahariTole, a village in Bishnupur, Saptari, has turned into a pure vegetarian settlement.There are 200 households in the village where all residents are Mandals, except for one family each of Harijan, Kamar, Thakur and Kayastha.

Consumption of meat and fish is prohibited in this settlement. “As all the villagers follow Kabirpanthi philosophy, they are against killing any living organism,” said former VDC vice-chairman Mohan Mandal. Villagers have never consumed meat on the sixth day of a baby’s birth and have never carried a fishing net in the locality since ancient times. “We are also against animal sacrifice to appease the Gods,” said Mandal. Duragananda Mandal, a local youth, said nobody is allowed to hunt in the village. The villagers offer fruits, betel nuts, and flowers to their kuldevta in Kabir Ashram, said Chandreshwor Mandal. Local youths pay homage to their kuldevta before leaving for foreign employment. Social activist Bhupendra Mandal said anybody found consuming meat will have to distribute curd and beaten rice to the entire village as penalty.


Meat makes the Planet Thirsty

By James Mcwilliams
March 7, 2014

AUSTIN, Tex. — CALIFORNIA is experiencing one of its worst droughts on record. Just two and a half years ago, Folsom Lake, a major reservoir outside Sacramento, was at 83 percent capacity. Today it’s down to 36 percent. In January, there was no measurable rain in downtown Los Angeles. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency. President Obama has pledged $183 million in emergency funding. The situation, despite last week’s deluge in Southern California, is dire.
With California producing nearly half of the fruit and vegetables grown in the United States, attention has naturally focused on the water required to grow popular foods such as walnuts, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, almonds and grapes. These crops are the ones that a recent report in the magazine Mother Jones highlighted as being unexpectedly water intensive. Who knew, for example, that it took 5.4 gallons to produce a head of broccoli, or 3.3 gallons to grow a single tomato? This information about the water footprint of food products — that is, the amount of water required to produce them — is important to understand, especially for a state that dedicates about 80 percent of its water to agriculture.

But for those truly interested in lowering their water footprint, those numbers pale next to the water required to fatten livestock. A 2012 study in the journal Ecosystems by Mesfin M. Mekonnen and Arjen Y. Hoekstra, both at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, tells an important story. Beef turns out to have an overall water footprint of roughly four million gallons per ton produced. By contrast, the water footprint for “sugar crops” like sugar beets is about 52,000 gallons per ton; for vegetables it’s 85,000 gallons per ton; and for starchy roots it’s about 102,200 gallons per ton.

Factor in the kind of water required to produce these foods, and the water situation looks even worse for the future of animal agriculture in drought-stricken regions that use what’s known as “blue water,” or water stored in lakes, rivers and aquifers, which California and much of the West depend on. Vegetables use about 11,300 gallons per ton of blue water; starchy roots, about 4,200 gallons per ton; and fruit, about 38,800 gallons per ton. By comparison, pork consumes 121,000 gallons of blue water per ton of meat produced; beef, about 145,000 gallons per ton; and butter, some 122,800 gallons per ton. There’s a reason other than the drought that Folsom Lake has dropped as precipitously as it has. Don’t look at kale as the culprit. (Although some nuts, namely almonds, consume considerable blue water, even more than beef.) That said, a single plant is leading California’s water consumption.

Unfortunately, it’s a plant that’s not generally cultivated for humans: alfalfa. Grown on over a million acres in California, alfalfa sucks up more water than any other crop in the state. And it has one primary destination: cattle. Increasingly popular grass-fed beef operations typically rely on alfalfa as a supplement to pasture grass. Alfalfa hay is also an integral feed source for factory-farmed cows, especially those involved in dairy production.

If Californians were eating all the beef they produced, one might write off alfalfa’s water footprint as the cost of nurturing local food systems. But that’s not what’s happening. Californians are sending their alfalfa, and thus their water, to Asia. The reason is simple. It’s more profitable to ship alfalfa hay from California to China than from the Imperial Valley to the Central Valley. Alfalfa growers are now exporting some 100 billion gallons of water a year from this drought-ridden region to the other side of the world in the form of alfalfa. All as more Asians are embracing the American-style, meat-hungry diet.


The Opinion Pages | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

World News

China is urging people to eat less meat — which could have a big climate impact

In the US, the Obama administration has been reluctant to encourage people to eat less meat for health and environmental reasons. The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines, for instance, remained fairly muted on the topic after fierce lobbying by the meat industry.

But in China, where livestock emissions are soaring and obesity is on the rise, officials are being far less circumspect. The Chinese Nutrition Society (CNS) is now enlisting celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, director James Cameron, and actress Li Bingbing in a nationwide campaign urging people to cut their meat consumption in half — in line with new dietary recommendations. The campaign, taglined “Less Meat, Less Heat, More Life,” will tout the climate benefits of lower meat consumption and feature PSAs on billboards and televisions across China. We’ll see how it goes, but even a partway successful “less meat” campaign could have a surprisingly large impact on global warming. A new report from WildAid, which is partnering with the campaign, crunches some numbers. Right now the average Chinese person eats about 170 grams of beef, pork, poultry, and lamb a day. China’s latest health guidelines, crafted by CNS and the Ministry of Health, advise cutting back to 75 grams a day.

If all 1.3 billion people in China were to follow this advice — a big “if,” but just to illustrate — global agricultural emissions would drop 12 percent. That, in turn, would cause total greenhouse gas emissions to fall roughly 1.5 percent, more than the entire annual output of France and Belgium combined. And the savings would get bigger and bigger over the next few decades. We’d get about one-twelfth of the emission cuts needed to stay below 2°C, the report calculates. It doesn’t have to entail going full vegetarian — even just whittling down portions can make a dent.

The average Chinese person eats half as much meat as the average American each year. But because there are 1.3 billion people in China, total meat consumption is enormous — and growing fast. China already consumes twice as much meat as the United States. By 2030, it’s expected to be triple. The livestock needed to support those diets have a considerable climate footprint. Cows and sheep release lots of methane through “enteric fermentation” — burps, mostly — and their manure. Plus, there’s land use, the energy needed for farming, and so on. All told, emissions from livestock are estimated to be some 14.5 percent of the global total.

As a 2015 report from Chatham House points out, the type of animal makes a big difference. Beef and lamb produce the most greenhouse gases per kilogram of meat produced. Chickens, which convert feed more efficiently and use less land, produce just a fraction of the amount. As China gets richer, the country has also seen a rise in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and so on. So health officials have been pushing healthier diets: more fruits and veggies, less meat, etc.



World Scenario


With over 65 billion animals being raised for meat every year 40% of the world’s grain production is fed to animals rather than feeding human beings. Almost 50% of Maize produced in the world is fed to animals. Maize is the staple food of Africa. Overgrazing and methane gas released by billions of animals is damaging our planet and causing global warming. With the world population expected to grow to 9.5 billion by 2050, mass starvation will take place unless meat consumption is replaced with a vegetarian diet.

Any wonder then that the world is rediscovering the merits of vegetarianism now!