A perfect way to talk about food for Earth Day! You definitely don’t have to be a vegan or a vegetarian to help momma earth with your food choices. Great GD Foodie-Phile segment featuring Meatless Monday‘s Diana Rice. Listen to the entire Earth Day Green Divas Radio Show at the end of this post!
If you don’t yet participate in the Meatless Monday movement, today–the Monday before Earth Day–is the perfect day to join.
Meatless Monday was started in 2003 by former advertising executive Sid Lerner. He decided to partner with Johns Hopkins University to revive the former war rationing effort in the name of public health. At the time, the goal was to combat heart disease and other diet-related illnesses by helping Americans reduce their intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol from meat by about 15 percent.
In the decade since, however, we’ve learned that lowering our meat consumption is also an excellent way to protect the planet. So this Earth Day, as you contemplate how you can step up your efforts to recycle, conserve energy, and purchase green-friendly products, consider how cutting out meat one day a week can help!
Three Meatless Monday Benefits for the Environment
1. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change
Do you opt for walking, biking, or public transportation as often as possible because of the climate-damaging emissions produced by motor vehicles? Well, the United Nations estimates that the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, which is actually more than the entire transportation sector. Sources of these emissions include animal manure, cattle belching, and synthetic fertilizers used to grow animal feed crops.
2. Conserve valuable water supplies
Any type of agriculture is going to require some amount of water, but meat production represents an especially inefficient use of our water supplies. As an example, producing one gram of protein from beef requires four times more water as is needed to produce one gram of protein from vegetables. This usage puts a strain on our limited freshwater reserves, which could alternatively be used to grow additional plant proteins, or to provide drinking water in drought-prone areas.
3. Help reduce fossil fuel dependence
If you’re a proponent of curbing our reliance on fossil fuel by supporting alternative and renewable energy sources, consider this: On average, it takes about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce one calorie of feed lot beef, as compared to just 2.2 calories that go into producing one calorie of plant based protein.
Learn more about how meat production affects the environment here and here.
What’s great about Meatless Monday is that it provides an accessible, memorable way to cut down on your meat consumption and be a part of the solution to all these problems. Even better, though your own daily food choices may seem like small potatoes, you can be confident in the knowledge that you’re participating in a much larger movement, which collectively adds up to a significant change. Who knew there were so many Meatless Monday benefits?
In addition to Meatless Monday’s strong U.S. campaign, with hundreds of schools, hospitals, restaurants and home cooks participating every week, thirty-five countries around the globe now host their own Meatless Monday campaigns.
Watch this video for learn more about Meatless Monday benefits:
Need a little inspiration for your Meatless Monday meal tonight? Click here!
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