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Want to fight climate change? Eat more beans.

Stashed in: Ecology!, Awesome, Energy!, Nutrition!, World Hunger, Nutrition, World Hunger, Ecology, Climate Change!, Nuts!, Beans!

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An understated food group, pulses include common beans, chickpeas, faba bean, dried peas and lentils, and have an extraordinary range of health and environmental benefits.  

Pulses reduce the use of fossil fuels, since they don’t require nitrogen fertilizers (a main component of nitrogen fertilizer is natural gas, a fossil fuel). With a unique ability to “fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere, pulses are able to directly draw nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it into nutrients vital for plant growth. Growing pulses makes soils fertile, reducing need of fertilizer for even for other crops.

In addition, pulses are highly water efficient. It takes only 43 gallons of water to grow a pound of pulses, compared to a whopping 1857 gallons for beef! By the year 2030, demand for fresh water is expected to increase by more than 50 percent, and agriculture alone accounts for around 70 percent of freshwater use globally. Pulses are the most water-efficient source of protein foods.

Meat consumption per capita has more than doubled in the developing world since 1963, while pulse consumption has dropped by almost 50 percent over the same period.  As consumers, by swapping out meat a few times a week and replacing them with pulses, we can substantially reduce our carbon footprint. With virtually no fat, pulses are high in essential micronutrients such as iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and selenium, dietary fiber, and ‘good’ carbohydrates. To top it all, they are a rich source of protein – three times more than cereals like wheat and rice.

I've never heard of the word "pulses" before.

They do seem like a great food group and a staple for any good diet.

Why aren't we eating more of them?

Bonus: Beans are a common food of people in Blue Zones. 

In case you're wondering what a faba bean is:

Turns out it's not a true bean!

I've always heard it called a fava bean. So peas are not beans?

I love beans and try to eat them every day. But I think food is actually pretty far down the list of what ordinary people can do to affect global climate change. From what I understand the real list is:

* Children, esp in First World countries. If you have one, you've undone all the good you ever did otherwise. If you have more than 2, you fucked us all.

* Air travel. Sorry but if you fly to New Zealand or Fiji you may as well kiss your nature-lover badge goodbye.

* Driving.

* Living in an area where the utilities use coal.

I could go on, but what's the point? Here it is: eating beans instead of chicken is not that big a savings. If you start with the biggest-impact changes... people really need to stop having kids and going on vacation. Not feeling that great about your global warming impact now, are you?

Nope. Not feeling good at all.

Can't we just love beans because they're delicious and nutritious?

Sending my sons to tap Mr. Halibut on the shoulder.  :-p

He's right in the sense that adding people to the planet increases resource consumption. 

Voluntary Birth Control Is A Climate Change Solution Nobody Wants To Talk About

It's not just about population. It's about energy consumption:

The reality is that while most of the world's population growth is taking place throughout Africa and India, industrialized countries' energy consumption levels take a larger toll on the environment. 

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