Comment by Kip Hansen – March 23, 2023
Now you might think I’m trying to fool you. But I’m not really. This advice comes from the Washington Post’s Climate Coach.
Say what? climate coach? Is that like a life coach? A planet-saving life coach? Well, sort of – the Post’s climate coach is Michael Coren. Oh, not the famous Canadian theologian, radio host and writer. Another Michael Coren, this one.
What does he do? He writes advisory column. He is dear Abby to the climate concerned. He (and other Green Living contributors) have given Washington Post readers advice on home composting, how to buy green bonds, given energy-saving tips for our home appliances, and given readers advice on green burial options (from composting to natural burial ). to cremation in water – NB: those with a weak stomach should not follow the link to cremation in water) told us to almost always wash our clothes with cold water and that we should take flights on planes carrying reprocessed French frying oil. All in the service of saving the planet, of course.
His latest piece of advice for the Save the Planet® crowd is, “Eat lentils every day.”
“Lentils disguise their superpowers with a dowdy exterior. Pound for pound, raw lentils have more protein than steak. Although not as high in protein once cooked, they still contain more iron than meat, in addition to other vitamins and minerals… Today, lentils are back at the forefront. This time against climate change. As startups scramble to develop a sustainable protein, from lab-grown meat to fake burgers, lentils are a ready-made solution, one with a proven track record… When it comes to tackling climate change, lentils may be the perfect legume . They are also, as the caviar mention suggests, delicious. So why do Americans eat less lentils than almost everyone else? …. There’s a good reason. Although not as dense or digestible as meat after cooking, lentils become a complete protein similar to meat when combined with many grains. They also burn slowly and satiate hunger for hours.”
And lentils have: “Climate impact: What’s good for you is good for the country. America’s favorite crops, like wheat and corn, often degrade soil over time. Legumes like lentils rebuild it.”
One more thing – in the United States the children have a little ditty that goes:
♬ Beans, beans, the musical fruit ♬
♬ The more you eat, the more you do ♬
Lentils have the same “property” as legumes – this is what Coren is referring to when he says “not as…digestible as meat”. Eating lentils causes “gas,” yes, the tooting of smelly methane gas. If all 8 billion or so people start eating lentils on a large scale, we need to be taxed like New Zealand taxes sheep. (For the same reason.)
So, friends, eating lentils may not actually save the planet (may lead to a rise in atmospheric methane) — it may result in a minuscule drop in meat consumption in the United States. It won’t make the slightest difference in overall CO2 emissions, and even if it did reduce CO2 emissions, it wouldn’t make the slightest difference…well, not at all (well, maybe a bit of discomfort in crowded elevators and other tight spaces rooms.).
But, hey, thanks for the advice, Mr. Coren.
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Another, I have to say, oddly cute column that shows utterly silly and utterly ineffective ways for people to feel better after being thrashed with climate scare stories in the Washington Post day in and day out.
Full disclosure: I eat lentils, many different kinds. I like lentils. We have 5 gallon buckets of lentils in our emergency supply. My wife puts them in soups and other dishes. I just don’t think I’m saving the planet by eating them.
Oh, just one more thing (h/t Columbo) – if your culture has a similar little ditty about eating beans, let’s hear it in the comments.
Thank you for reading.
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