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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Still keeping up the vegetarian meals?

Credit: iStockphoto

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Last week, while we were finishing up our online billing challenge, was National Vegetarian Week. It's a chance to explore the environmental, health and animal rights issues of vegetarianism.

The National Veg Week website had a fundraiser, where they donated a dollar to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation for every person who pledged to either:

  • try a vegetarian meal
  • commit to a week of vegetarian eating, or
  • invite a non-vegetarian to share a veg meal with them

The first two are good ways to experiment with what it's like to eat vegetarian. The last one is a great way for vegetarians to show their non-veg friends how tasty it can be to eat without meat.

Since we did the vegetarian challenge last year, I've been keeping up my meat-free recipe adventures. I've learned quite a lot of new tricks, and have branched out in the types of vegetables I'm willing to try.

I've also discovered that eating less meat is one of the four most useful things you can do to help the environment. According to a report by the Australian Greenhouse Office back in 2003, the methane produced by Australia's cattle and sheep has more impact than the emissions from all coal-fired power stations in Australia.

Although I eat much less meat than I used to, I still think I could do better. The benefits are so huge that I think all of us who aren't vegetarian yet should keep plugging away at it, looking at it as a lifestyle change that's good for us as well as the planet.

How are you going with reducing the amount of meat in your life? Let us know in the comments if you've found any particularly good recipes!