Of everything we eat, meat is the biggest offender. Raising livestock is a much more intensive endeavor than growing plants. It takes massive amounts of food, water, land, and energy to grow and transport the animals that become your favorite burgers and sausages.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, producing meat contributes more to climate change than the transportation sector. Cows, pigs, and the like produce nearly one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
You don’t have to become a vegetarian to reduce your carbon footprint. There’s a movement afoot to encourage eaters to give up meat once a week as a way of improving the health of both the planet and its people.
Which day to go Earth-friendly? Make it a Monday.
The Meatless Monday campaign, a non-profit initiative associated with Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, helps people start their week with meat-free options. The campaign’s goal is to drive down meat consumption by 15 percent.
Americans eat around eight ounces of meat a day, around twice the average around the world. That means we each eat some 200 pounds per year, 50 pounds more than we ate 50 years ago.
Reducing that total by 15 percent would make only a dent, but we’d be moving toward a more sustainable future and improving our health at the same time.
Interested? Visit the Meatless Monday website for encouragement and recipe ideas, as well as the latest news on which celebrities are going meatless once a week (Sir Richard Branson and Giada De Laurentiis, to name a couple).
Are you going meatless on Mondays? What is your favorite meat-free recipe?
Sustainable Eating With Meatless Mondays by Dayna Hathaway