By Lauren Wolahan
Behold the Impossible Burger, the plant-based indulgence that looks, cooks, smells and tastes just like meat, but without the environmental price tag. The no-meat treat emerged onto the food scene in 2016, when it debuted at restaurants in Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
"I think the natural assumption people make is that because we've basically made a food that looks and tastes and cooks and smells just like meat from a cow … that there must be some kind of sketchy business going on," said Pat Brown, CEO and founder of Impossible Foods, which makes the Impossible Burger. "But, in fact, there was a lot of work that went into figuring out in detail what it took to make something that delivered all the sensory pleasures of meat using plant ingredients."
Recently welcomed onto the menus of Chef Brad Farmerie's Michelin-starred restaurants Public and Saxon + Parole, the Impossible Burger has solidified its place at the cutting edge of both gastronomy and sustainability. At a panel hosted at Public, Farmerie described the Burger as a "gateway drug" into alternative protein, offering his patrons the chance to enjoy a new treat that represents an "incredible flip on what we can do for our world."
The Impossible Burger.Impossible Foods
Impossible Foods is developing the whole gamut of traditionally animal-sourced meats, from fish to bacon. Brown said the decision to start with a plant-based burger was a no-brainer. The burger is an iconic American food and beef production has the biggest environmental impact of the foods we eat. The all-plant patty sends a clear message, he said, that "the best meats in the world don't have to come from animals."
Our food choices have a huge environmental impact. Livestock production accounts for a third of global cropland, pollutes water and air, and almost 15 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. Among farm animals, cattle are the biggest culprits, accounting for the large majority of livestock-related greenhouse gas emissions. Demand for meat and dairy is set to skyrocket in the years to come.
Eating less meat could save 5 million lives, cut carbon emissions by 33% https://t.co/tfx1Mkh7Xw via @ecowatch #climate— climatehawk1 (@climatehawk1)1458672426.0
Experts disagree on the best approach to shrinking the environmental impact of food production. Agricultural purists are deploying low-impact farming practices that reduce pollution, build healthy soils, and scrub carbon from the atmosphere. Agri-tech companies, on the other hand, are using advanced tools to increase yield crops and convert livestock waste to biogas. Some are even feeding seaweed to cows so that they burp less methane.
Many environmental advocates say we should look beyond the farm and try to change the way we eat—consuming more plants and less meat—as a way to combat climate change.
The Impossible Burger at Saxon and Parole.Lauren Wolahan
Asking people to change how they eat is a thorny subject. There are personal and cultural barriers to eating less meat. But Brown says we can protect the planet without asking people to sacrifice a beloved food by developing tasty, plant-based alternatives to meat. The Impossible Burger requires using 95 percent less land and generates 87 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a beef patty.
"Because we're constantly improving it, we're discovering fundamental things about how to make delicious meat flavor from simple plant ingredients and discovering new ways to make it better and better and better all the time," said Brown.
"This is how I know that we are going to succeed in our mission," he added. "As soon as we're kind of running even with the cow, the race is over, because the cow's not going to get any faster and we are—every single day."
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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