Americans love their meat. Beef is featured in almost every restaurant; dishes such as beef stew, filet mignon, hamburger, meatballs, meat loafs, and chili are prepared in restaurants around the United States. No American can resist the smell of a juicy hamburger on the grill or the Italian spices, such as basil and oregano, in meatballs. They consume large amounts of meat because meat is inexpensive and in every single grocery store. Americans eat so much meat, that the United States is one of the leading consumers of meat around the world. Even four of the world’s top meat producing companies are located in the United States. The average American consumes around 71.2 of red meat per year.
Although Americans eat large amounts of beef, that does not mean that every country does. The United States is a developed country with better technology, living standards, and resources than other countries. Places such as Africa and South America are less developed countries, but are moving up and they want to eat meat like Americans. The problem with that is that American overeat meat and this overeating leads to serious environmental problems.
The livestock, from the meat industry, cause a phenomenon called desertification; desertification is when grasslands or land covered with plant life turn into deserts. The only cause of desertification is overgrazing from livestock. The cattle over eat the grass and leaves the areas bare. The damaged soil does not absorb the water; the water evaporates and puts carbon dioxide back into the environment. Many meat companies have their livestock graze in one area; this lands becomes a desert, so the meat companies move onto another area. This means cutting down rainforests because two-thirds of the earth’s land is experiencing desertification. This cycle gets repeated and more and more of the earth’s land turns into deserts. Many environmentalist try taking the cattle out of the land, in hopes of restoring the land; their plans fail and the land decertified even more. Livestock is needed for restoration of the land because the natural moving patterns of the cattle helps the grass decompose and create fertile soil. The cattle dung and pee over the grass, which helps the tall grass fall and decompose. The grass decomposes the methane produced by the dung. This process can repair the land and turn it back into a lush grassland. This is not occurring now because of the meat industries and America’s love of meat. Meat is so widely consumed in America and is so cheap that the meat companies have to use one area of land to graze their cattle. If the meat companies used planned grazing, which mimics that natural process of grazing in the wild, lands that have been destroyed by livestock can return to being lush and full of life.
Meat is beloved by many Americans, but the amount they eat is not sustainable for the environment. There are alternatives to eating less meat. Citizens can help desertification by eating meat no more than three times per week. There are more “extreme” methods, such as becoming a vegetarian or a vegan. Being vegetarian means that a person does not eat meat, poultry, pork, fish, and seafood. Veganism consists of a person not eating any products made from animals; this includes dairy, eggs, and honey. Even though people find these lifestyles intense, not eating meat does help combat desertification by not having so many people in need to beef. Eating meat substitutes can be satisfying. They include soy products, but many vegan chefs use plants to recreate meat products; there are hamburgers made of beets or black beans.
I even have my own recipe for a veggie burger. It is made from beets, quinoa, and black beans. To give it a hamburger-like flavor, I add onions, garlic, mushrooms, cayenne pepper, paprika, and of course salt and pepper. I can cook it on the grill, just like a beef hamburger.The flavors are explosive. The spices give the burger an almost umami-like flavor and the onions make the veggie burger taste like the ones my dad used to make. As I cook it on the grill, the smell from the cayenne pepper and paprika fill my nose. I dress the veggie burger like a regular hamburger; I put it on a bun with lettuce and tomatoes and mustard. It might not exactly taste like a beef hamburger, but it brings back nostalgic memories of summer barbecues. Maybe one day people won’t crave a hamburger and instead crave a veggie burger