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Eco Blog 1: Going Meat Free

Hi, Chiara here! I’m 14 and I’m in Year 9 at Redborne Upper School. The environment is something I am really concerned about and I try and do as much as I can to help raise awareness about climate change. I’m on the Eco Committee at my school, which supports environmental initiatives.

I’m currently doing my Duke of Edinburgh Award and for part of my volunteering section I am going to be writing an eco blog for the church’s website. Every week I will be talking about a different way to help the environment. Each month I will also talk about what you can find in the church grounds with the help of Helen and John who are part of the church team. I hope you enjoy reading this week’s blog and that you will try out some of these ideas yourself and come up with your own.

This week I will be talking about vegetarian and vegan food. I’ve been a pescetarian for 2 years and my mum has been vegetarian since she was 17. My dad and my brother still eat meat but they only have it once a week.

Being vegetarian, vegan or reducing how much meat you have in your diet is really important for the environment! A new study suggests that it is the “single biggest way” to reduce our environmental impact on the earth. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce your carbon footprint from food by up to 73%.

Eating a veggie diet is one of the best things you can do to stop climate change as it creates 2.5x less carbon emissions than a meat diet. By eating veggie food for a year you could save the same amount of emissions as taking a small car off the road for 6 months! Replacing meat with veggie sources of proteins, e.g: nuts, seeds, lentils, can reduce carbon and other greenhouse emissions. Going veggie uses less water as well. The production of one chicken breast uses 542 litres of water, enough to fill a bath 6.5 times! Going veggie will allow oceans to be restored to their natural balance if we reduce our intake of fish or swap to more sustainable varieties. Even if you love meat, just swapping a couple of meals a week, will help the environment.

I would love to see what you’ve been doing to help the environment at home and if you’ve got any feedback or ideas I would love to hear that as well.

Here is a vegetarian recipe I enjoy making:

Melanzane Parmigiana

Ingredients for 4 people:

800g of aubergines

250g of mozzarella

80g of grated parmesan cheese Salt

Flour Oil for frying

Two eggs 1 handful of fresh basil leaves

750g of tomato sauce

2 cloves of garlic

50 ml of extra virgin olive oi


1.Peel the aubergines and cut them long ways into equal slices that are about just less than 1cm thick each. Put them out to dry and sprinkle some salt over them. Leave the aubergines for at least an hour.

2. Wash the aubergines to remove the excess salt from them. Squeeze the water out of them and dry them.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add two cloves of garlic, add the tomato sauce slowly, throw in a handful of basil leaves and a sprinkle of salt. Then mix it together and leave it for 20-30 minutes on a medium-low flame.

4. Beat the eggs, and after coating the aubergine with flour dip in the beaten egg and fry until golden brown.

5. Now you can start making the parmigiano. First, you get a large dish and smooth a small amount of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Then add a layer of the aubergines on top. Then on top of that, add pieces of mozzarella, lots of grated parmesan and more tomato sauce. Keep on repeating the process until the aubergines are finished. For the last layer, smooth out your remaining tomato sauce on top and finish it off with some more grated parmesan.

6. Now put it into the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180-190 degrees.

7. Now it is ready to eat! It tastes even better if you leave it for 2 or 3 or 4 hours, for all the flavours soak in. Enjoy!

How to make it vegan

If you would like to make it vegan, all you will have to do is use a vegan cheese instead of the mozzarella and parmesan, and instead of using eggs, only coat the aubergine with flour. It will taste just as good!

I hope you enjoy the recipe and you might have a go at making this or another vegetarian or vegan dish.

Best wishes

Chiara x

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