After having stuffed my face and imbibing too many Manhattans, I began to wonder if global warming would change the way my descendants celebrate Thanksgiving.
The last few weeks have been filled with news about Lake Powell and Lake Mead running out of water and towns such as Rio Verde, Arizona going completely dry. Farmers won’t have water to grow crops. Raising poultry takes water, too. No turkey? No dressing?
CLIMATE CHANGE THANKSGIVING FUTURE
I can just envision dinner in fifty years. Tequila will replace wine and other water-intensive alcohol ingredients such as corn, wheat, potatoes, and rye since the blue agave can be grown in the desert. Besides, it provides a source of fiber, alternative sweetener, and mezcal. Will the agave or other cacti replace green beans? The main course will be a variety of insects as well as drought tolerant grains such as chick peas and black eyed peas. We’ll be baking with Sorghum and millet flour.
What? Insects you say? Yep. It’s already happening around the world. Sylvain Hugel, one of the world’s foremost experts on crickets of the Indian Ocean Islands ads cricket powder to his morning yogurt, sprinkles larvae over his salads like bacon bits, and fries up frozen crickets for dinner. In his view, moving to insect consumption may be the only way to save the world.
According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization:
- agricultural production worldwide will have to increase by 70% in order to feed a global population expected to reach 9.1 billion by 2050. Yet agriculture is one of the biggest drivers of natural destruction, threatening 86% of the 28,000 species most at risk of extinction, according to a new report by the UK-based policy institute Chatham House and the UN environment program.
- Demand for animal protein in particular is increasing the strain on the environment: 80% of the world’s farmland is used to raise and feed livestock, even though animals only account for 18% of global calorie consumption. Decreasing meat production, says the report, would remove pressure to expand livestock operations while freeing up existing land to restore native ecosystems and increase biodiversity.
So, you can’t imagine a giant grasshopper on the platter being sliced up with a carving knife. Never fear. Science is here to help.
CLIMATE CHANGE FOR TURKEY
Ta-da! Let me introduce you to lab-grown meats. This meat is made by cultivating animal cells in vitro. The meat is produced in a controlled environment, making it free from bacteria and disease. Additionally, fewer real cattle will help reduce methane, which contributes to global warming.
In fact, Upsides Foods just received safety clearance from US Food and Drug Administration to begin production of lab-grown chicken once its facilities have been inspected by the US Department of Agriculture. Lab-grown meat is already available in Singapore.
Still, when I think of a hunk of lab-grown turkey, I see a big blob of meat with no bones! Just think, my descendants will not know the joy of tugging on the wishbone and the delight when you had the “lucky” break (the big piece), allowing you a secret wish. What will replace the turkey leg at fairs? Will it look like an oversized corndog on a plastic stick?
Its time to record family remembrances of Thanksgiving before its too late. The youth of tomorrow will be oblivious of our quaint practices while living the carnivore life using real animals.