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Thinking for a cooler world

Klaus Esterluß | Reporter's Log

Vegan fast food for a better climate


Vegan soy burger with cheese, rocket salad and eggless mayonnaise. Picture: Kerstin Schnatz

The Melt! festival in Germany close to the city of Dessau is trying to become more environmentally friendly. Only recently solar panels have been installed. They produce enough electricity to power two festivals the size of Melt! each year. But the organizer’s commitment doesn’t stop there. Vegan and vegeterian food is strongly encouraged. We have asked at one of the stalls, why vegan food is more climate friendly than a meaty diet.

The delicous smell of sausages, burgers and potato wedges attracts us to Michael Danz’s BBQ stall. He tells us, that most of the fast food he has on offer is „vegan“. Vegan food contains neither meat nor any other animal products such as milk, egg, or cheese making it more environmentally friendly.

Cattle as an environmental concern

Michael himself is a vegeterian, eating no meat or fish at all. Whilst he does eat milk products from time to time, he tries to reduce it as much as he can. One of his reasons for this choice of diet is his concern for the climate. „There are too many farmed animals in the world already. The problem especially with cows is, that they emit a lot of methane gas.“ Methane comes from the cattle’s digestive tracts. Just like CO2 emitted by fossil fueled cars or planes, methane is a contributor to global warming.

The sausages on the vegan BBQ plate as well as the patties for the veggie burgers, look just like their meaty originals. The vegan sausages are made of saitan, which is wheat-protein. The veggie burgers are based on soy. For gaining one kilogramm of meat, a cow would have to eat approximately 10 kilograms of soy – that makes a lot of veggie burgers.

Organic and regional food preferred

„Personally I only eat organic products as less pesticides are used for their production. Regional food is also important to me because short transport ways help saving CO2.“

At the festival he finds it rather hard to live up to his personal standards. „If we would go organic, prices would have to rise dramatically.“ Indead, the price of six Euro for one BBQ plate isn’t quite cheap compared to next stall’s chicken noodles already. “If more people ate organic, surely it would become less expensive” one of the guests who had been following our conversation   throws in. He ordered he vegan burger with cheese and mayonnaise.  Bon Appétit!







July 17, 2011