This year’s big international Climate Change conference has just started, and is going on until 12th December. It’s called COP28 and is being held in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. You might remember last year’s COP27 was held in Egypt and COP26 was in Glasgow, Scotland. Representatives from almost every country in the world are meeting to help us all make global decisions and commitments to tackle climate change. But what about ‘little ME’ – how can I really make a difference?
Are you ready for this challenge? … You’re going to need to be super imaginative, adventurous and brave – all key skills for a Young Climate Warrior! It’s about ‘ME’ – and MEat, and MEthane. The aim is to try to eat as many plant-based MEals as you can for the 12 days of COP28. Changing to plant-based foods is one of the most powerful ways for us, as individuals, to help combat climate change.
What MEals could you make? How many ‘plant-based’ proteins can you name? … chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, almonds, quinoa, wild rice, beans, almonds, peas, chia and hemp seeds, sweetcorn, and even spirulina - a type of algae! Surprisingly, broccoli, kale, mushrooms and even baked potatoes are also a source of protein! What will you choose to cook? Falafels – they’re good fun to shape with your hands. Veggie pasta bake? Autumnal butternut squash soup? Pea risotto? Cool Mexican bean wraps? Cashew nut stir-fry? Wild rice pilaf? Peanut butter on toast? Lentil bolognese? Crispy corn fritters? Three bean chilli? Rainbow Risotto topped with almonds? Kid-friendly quinoa salad? You could always venture even further into ‘plant-based’ meat alternatives like tofu or soya mince.
So what’s the link with MEthane? Well, MEthane is a really powerful greenhouse gas with an impact on climate change around 34 times greater than carbon dioxide, over 100 years. It is released from wetlands and melting permafrost, as well as via agriculture, fossil fuel mining and landfill waste. You have probably heard that cows, sheep and goats produce lots of methane when they burp – a key reason for changing to a more ‘plant-based’ diet and reducing our consumption of meat. Fish farming and rice paddy fields are also a source of methane. Many scientists and entrepreneurs are working to try and reduce these various sources of methane emissions – you may have heard of a special seaweed that is being added to cattle feed to reduce their methane burps. Watch this space …
You might find it interesting to try the BBC Climate Change Foods calculator - to see how much difference you can make by choosing a plant-based MEal. HIT THE RED BUTTON when ‘little ME’ has made a special MEal to help reduce our MEthane emissions.