Climate Change has been affecting us all by the ever increasing temperatures, severe droughts and floods, water shortages, wildfires and even longer air travel. Glaciers have shrunk, ice is melting and the World is witnessing record-breaking warmth every other day due to global warming and climate change.
While it may seem like our actions may be able to alter the effects of Climate Change, a slight lifestyle change can the first baby step. Shifting our diets to be more environmentally sustainable and healthier can be helpful to our planet.
Our personal carbon footprint is mainly due to the food items we tend to consume. Dairy and meat products cause massive emissions of greenhouse gases like Nitrous Oxide and Methane.
These products make up about 22 percent of the diet of the developed countries. However, there is a food group which not only has a tiny carbon footprint but is also rich in essential micronutrients and proteins. These are pulses including faba bean, common beans, dried peas, chickpeas and lentils.
Pulses have a range of environmental benefits. Nitrogen fertilizers whose primary component is fossil fuels are not required for the growth of pulses. Thus, the use of fossil fuels is dramatically reduced while growing them.
Also, pulses can directly draw nitrogen from the atmosphere and also convert them into nutrients which are essential for the growth of plants. Due to the sowing of pulses on fields, the soils become more fertilized reducing the need for fertilizer for other crops.
Pulses are also highly water efficient. While it takes 1857 gallons of water for a pound of beef, the growth of the same amount of pulses only take 43 gallons of water. As per research, the demand for fresh water is expected to increase by a whopping 50 percent in another 15 years.
Due to the horrific effects of Climate Change, it is essential to grow and consume more pulses as compared to meat and dairy products as these are way more environmental friendly. As the supply of pulses have suffered a major fall, taking into account the array of benefits pulses have to offer; the United Nations has declared 2016 as the year of pulses.
Image Credit: agricorner.com
This story was first published on csmonitor.com