If you are an avid AP blog reader, you will know that our staff is made up of vegetarians and vegans. Everyone at AP has chosen this lifestyle for a variety of reasons ranging from environmental issues, animal rights, and health. Although we often encourage the lifestyle, including posting fun recipes, we understand the lifestyle is not for everyone. That’s why we are excited about a new campaign spreading throughout the country and world: Meat Free Mondays! Meat Free Monday is an organization spearheaded by Paul McCartney and his daughters. Yes, the Paul McCartney. He began the campaign to bring awareness about the meat industry’s effect on the environment and the fact that meat consumption is simply not sustainable, with the hopes of educating the world on how we can cut back and make changes to our environment.
So why should you give up meat on a Monday or any day for that matter? Well there are a host of reasons, however, the movement largely focuses on environmental impact. It has been shown that 18% of greenhouse gases come from meat production. This is largely from methane and nitrous oxide, which are actually more toxic than CO2. The amount of waste emitted from large scale meat production is shocking, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization reports that livestock production generates more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry! In fact, many studies show that meat production is more harmful for our environment than driving that gas guzzler! The National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan reports that the pollution emitted to produce 1kg of beef, for us Americans that is 2.2 pounds, is the equivalent the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by driving a standard car a whopping 155 miles a day! Wow, that means for one person to eat one or two days worth of meat produces the same amount of pollution for one person to drive across the entire state of Massachusetts and into New York!
In a study published by the University of Chicago, they found that if Americans reduced their meat intake by at least 20%, it would have the same same impact on our environment as a person switching from a Camry to a Prius. Americans on average consume about 8 ounces of meat daily! If Americans cut out at least one day a week of meat consumption, they could reduce their meat intake at almost 20%. It is a small impact but it would be the equivalent to changing from a gas run car to a hybrid.
This is where Meat Free Mondays come in! It is now a worldwide idea and is spreading fast. Some cities have even begun promoting it. Recently, ever progressive San Francisco recently passed a Meat Free Mondays Resolution encouraging city restaurants to serve meatless meals on Mondays throughout the city. The resolution states that the city will “encourage restaurants, grocery stores and schools to offer a greater variety of plant-based options to improve the health of San Francisco residents and visitors, and to increase the awareness of the impact a Green Diet would be on our planet.” We think this is a great step for the city of San Francisco and hope it will influence others around the country to get on board with Meat Free Mondays! If you want to be a part the Meat Free Monday movement, check out their website or fan them on Facebook.
If you are willing to commit to at least one day a week meat free, your impact on the world would be greater than giving up your car for the day. And think how great of an influence it would have if the entire country did the same. So please, if you aren’t already vegetarian, think about refraining from meat on Mondays, weekdays, everyday or at least cutting back. Environmental issues can seem daunting and it may feel there is little you can do. But by adjusting your lifestyle just a smidgen, you can make a huge influence on the world. It is one area where you can have some control in an out of control world.