By Alex Janin
Walk into the Herbivorous Butcher and you'll see deli cases stacked with Italian sausage, piles of pepperoni and mounds of Hawaiian ribs—all created without slaughtering an animal. But unlike other meat substitutes that may be frozen or contain hard-to-pronounce ingredients, the Minneapolis-based shop's handmade products skip the additives.
“You can get all the ingredients for our products at any natural food store," store owner Kale Walch, who started the Herbivorous Butcher with his sister, Aubry, told TakePart. “The base of the meats is a high-protein wheat flour ... we found that by mixing various bean flours and vinegars you can create any texture or any flavor."
The siblings were tired of meatless options with long, confusing lists of ingredients at their local grocery store, so they started making their own. In June 2014, the pair opened a farmers market stand in Minneapolis with five meat-substitute products, which proved popular. In late January, they opened their brick-and-mortar store, with 60 items for sale in a bustling neighborhood northeast of the city's downtown.
But the shop's creation wasn't born simply from a hunger for better-tasting vegetarian options, “although we were hungry that day," noted Kale. The two hope that giving more options to meat lovers and meat shunners alike will help spark a conversation on the many environmental and health risks associated with the meat industry.
The duo estimates that 60 to 70 percent of the Herbivorous Butcher's customers are omnivores, many of whom are looking to cut down on their meat consumption for environmental or health reasons. The pair swears that their products, which they call “meat improvements" rather than “meat alternatives," are delicious enough to turn even meat eaters into temporary vegans.
“We have one guy who always comes in and says, 'I love meat, but I really love this pastrami' ... We're trying to bridge the gap between people who do eat meat and cheese to meet us halfway and hopefully switch over," said Aubry.
Studies show that meat consumption contributes significantly to water shortages; about one-third of world water consumption is used for the production of animal products. Additionally, large meat producers such as Tyson have released hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals in waste to surface water over the last five years, which can choke waterways and kill huge numbers of fish, as well as be harmful to humans.
Wheat flour and vinegar flavors may not exactly replicate the smoky taste of a rack of ribs, but they won't bore your taste buds, said Kale. The siblings are constantly experimenting with new flavors, like using lime zest or orange juice, to add a new kick to their fake meats and cheeses. Along with items such as meat-free Maple Glazed Bacon or a Sriracha Brat, the shop also has 13 types of vegan cheese for sale. Preparation suggestions to encourage customers to craft creative vegan meals are offered too.
Kale and Aubry plan to expand into Denver or Los Angeles. In the meantime, they continue trying out recipes like hamachi-style fried rice with chicken and vegan mac and cheese to help get Midwesterners on board with a meatless lifestyle. For those not quite ready to commit, the Butcher offers a vegan starter kit online for $135.
“I don't understand why you would choose something that's so harmful for the environment," said Aubry about consumers who eat meat. “But people are getting better. Every day we see people that are trying to make a difference. One by one, that's what it's going to take."
This article was reposted with permission from our media associate TakePart.
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By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Bill McKibben
To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.
By Oliver Milman
The climate crisis is set to be a significant factor in a U.S. presidential election for the first time, with new polling showing a clear majority of American voters want decisive action to deal with the threats posed by global heating.
Do you support or oppose each of the following policies as part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQzODcyMC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjg4MzY4OX0.B-bt9mltOhK0MHFbzK8G3_8sBkDAeUsAWm-AhNZYoxQ/img.png?width=980" id="acd43" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8724178274b9f96e27055f74a1bafe20" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
America's largest national forest, Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be opened up to logging and road construction after the Trump administration finalizes its plans to open up the forest on Friday, according to The New York Times.
Aerial view of the Tongass National Forest. Alan Wu / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
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By Ruby Russell and Ajit Niranjan
Hamstrung by coronavirus lockdowns, frustrated school strikers have spent months staging digital protests against world leaders failing to act urgently on climate change.
Pandemic Stalls Protests<p>Last November, the head of the UN Environment Program was among the public and scientific figures to warn that 2020 offered a last chance to cut emissions. Then, few could have suspected this deadline would coincide with an unprecedented public health emergency.</p><p>The pandemic has <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/tough-times-ahead-for-climate-protesters-during-corona-pandemic/a-52978469" target="_blank">dealt climate activism a blow</a>. Niedeggen says that as a movement demanding that the world act on scientific advice, the school strikers took lockdown restrictions extremely seriously, halted public protests immediately and took their activism online.</p><p>On April 24, Fridays for Future organized a "digital strike," with Niedeggen hosting a that racked up close to a quarter of a million views. "We were not physically standing together, but we were all fighting together," she says.</p><p><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-strikers-get-inventive-during-the-covid-19-crisis-fridays-for-future/a-53229262" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Activists also gathered thousands of placards</a> from across Germany to lay out in front of the German Bundestag around the central slogan: "Fight every crisis."</p>
Opportunity for a New Normal<p>Last September's Global Climate Strike drew young and old protestors around the world, with organizers estimating a global turnout of 7.6 million, including an estimated 270,000 people in Berlin. Activists have adjusted this year's event to account for social distancing and different levels of coronavirus restrictions in cities taking part.</p><p>They say COVID-19 also presents opportunities.</p><p>"The pandemic shows that we can change our normal daily life, and we are very able to adjust to a situation of crisis," she says. The key question is how economies get back on their feet: "We have the possibility to build a new normal, to build a renewable world order, and an environmentally just, climate-just normal for everybody."</p><p>In July, Jeng was among 20 female Fridays for Future activists from the Global South to sign an open letter to G20 finance ministers warning that their decisions in "exclusive backrooms" over stimulus packages and corporate bailouts would "lock in development pathways for decades."</p><p>"The system is not broken, it was built to be unjust. We don't need recovery, we need a reboot," the letter reads, stressing that "black people, indigenous peoples and people of color," have been disproportionately hit by the economic, climate and coronavirus crises. </p>
Policy 'Not Quite There Yet'<p>Figures on stimulus spending do not suggest their words had much impact. The ministers were criticized for failing to relieve the debt of poorer countries, and according to <a href="https://www.energypolicytracker.org/region/g20/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Policy Tracker</a>, G20 countries by August had pledged $169 billion (142 billion euros) to fossil fuels since the beginning of the pandemic.</p><p>Katrin Uba, associate professor of political science at Uppsala University in Sweden, is researching Fridays for Future. She says that despite the movement raising awareness and gaining access to policymakers, real policy change "is not there yet."</p><p>Still, she stresses that social movements go through waves of mobilization as public attention on their core issues ebbs and flows. And perhaps one of Fridays for Future's biggest achievements is birthing a politically active generation that will keep the fight up long after corona becomes a memory. </p><p>"We know clearly from our research that many of the people who came to the streets hadn't done any protesting before in their lives," she told DW. "And we also know that if you do one protest, you are likely to do more."</p>
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