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Celebrate Earth Day with a plant-rich, low-carbon dinner

To the editor:

Unfortunately, many planned activities in our community to honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day had to be canceled because of guidelines designed to defeat the Covid-19 virus. One of these activities was a special, three-course vegan dinner on Earth Day at the Left Bank Cafe, co-sponsored by the Left Bank Cafe, Tri-Lakes 350.org and Adirondack Voters for Change. In honor of Earth Day, we are suggesting that people create their own vegan feast at home, perhaps using a recipe from the following site: https://www.feastingathome.com/vegan-dinner-recipes.

Below is the commentary we intended to go out to announce this 50th anniversary of Earth Day event:

Dining for the planet: A plant-rich diet can help combat climate change

A growing majority of Americans (up to 71%) now believe that global climate change “is happening, understand it is human-caused and are worried about its impacts.” Many want to do something that can lower their “carbon footprint” such as using reusable bags when shopping, getting solar panels for their home, turning off lights when leaving a room, buying an electric car, starting a vegetable garden or becoming a “composter.” However, many researchers say that shifting to a plant-rich diet is the number-one way that an individual can help to reduce global climate change and, as an added benefit, live a longer, healthier life.

Our global passion for meat requires the presence of over 60 billion land animals that require nearly half of all our available agricultural land for food as pasture. It has been estimated that emissions from livestock account for 18-20% of greenhouse gases (CO2, nitrous oxide and methane) annually — second only to our usage of fossil fuels. It has been determined that if cattle alone composed their own nation they would become the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The effect of cattle on our world’s climate will only get worse as more and more of the world’s rain forest (particularly in the Amazon) is destroyed to make way for the raising of livestock.

Millions of humans are suffering from a shortage of adequate water supplies at the same time a United Nations study reports that it takes up to 2,000 gallons of water to produce a single steak and 400 gallons of water for just one egg. Polluted water runoff from factory farms further causes great damage to our freshwater resources and ecosystems. And one can’t overlook the horrendous suffering undergone by millions of farm animals because of our modern large-scale factory farming methods.

What if we decided to change our eating habits a bit and began to consume a more plant-rich diet? If each American replaced eating chicken for just one meal per week, the CO2 savings would be the same as taking one-half-million cars off U.S. roads. As part of their climate action campaigns, Tri-Lakes 350.org and Adirondack Voters for Change will be supporting a special three-course vegan dinner at the Left Bank Cafe in Saranac Lake on Earth Day, April 22 at 7 p.m. This will be a chance for North Country residents to discover that healthy plant-rich meals not only can help save our planet but are also delicious. The dinner will also feature a trivia quiz (with prizes) to test your knowledge about plant-rich diets and musical guests.

(Note: Facts and statistics referred to in the above piece come from the book “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” and a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.)

Jim Abendroth, president

Adirondack Voters for Change

Bloomingdale

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