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Weekday Vegetarianism and Meatless Mondays: Dietary Trends To Help Save The Planet

EmmamHowe MA, United States 0 Ratings 33 Discussions 1 Group posts

Posted by: EmmamHowe // Marketing/Green Policy Development

The evidence is clear that being a vegetarian is better for the environment, for animals, and even for our own health. Though we’ve heard this repeatedly, it can still be difficult to make the “veggie” switch in a culture that thrives on meat consumption. Greenhouse gas emissions and human-caused climate change are making the need to take action all the more clear and urgent. Fortunately, we can all do our part to help mitigate these problems, and reducing our meat consumption is one simple way we can make a difference.

In the 1960s and 70s, many associated vegetarians and vegans with the terms “hippie” and “counterculture,” believing that eating meat was a key part of a balanced diet and that these were just fad diets. Yet, times are changing and many prominent environmentalists and scientists are changing their tune and preaching the benefits of meat moderation. In fact, recent studies reveal that meat production is causing more than 15% of all emissions. In the study, Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK, University of Oxford scientists found that meat-rich diets--eating more than .22 lbs per day--resulted in nearly 16 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions. In contrast, both vegetarian and pescatarian diets caused about 8.3lbs of CO2 per day, while vegan diets produced only 6.4lbs. Professor Mark Sutton, at the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology believes we must work convince the average consumer that “avoiding excessive meat consumption, especially beef, is good for the environment.”

Though cutting out ALL meat from our diets may sound outrageous, there are other ways to scale back our meat consumption without needing to make as dramatic of a dietary shift. Graham Hill, the journalist and environmentalist, devised a powerful and reasonable compromise: weekday vegetarianism. In Hill’s Ted Talk, he provides an alternative solution for people who aren’t ready or willing to give up meat: a plan to eat plant-based meals on the weekdays and to enjoy meat-based meals on the weekends. Hill believes that if we can all cut back our meat consumption on the weekdays, then we will no doubt see a tremendous positive environmental impact and a reduction in our net CO2 emissions.

For those who think Hill’s compromise is still too large a commitment, there are other ways to reduce meat consumption. Other movements support going meatless at least one day a week or maybe just on the weekends--that way people can still reduce their carbon footprint without compromising their dietary wishes. This movement is typically called the “Meatless Monday,” which means people go “veggie” on the monday of most every week cycles. The “Meatless Monday” Movement is not only helping people reduce their carbon footprints, but it also is helping them reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, while allowing them to live longer and improve the nutritional qualities of their diet.

We can all contribute to helping our planet and reducing the negative effects of climate change by making simple changes in our everyday lives--whether it be cutting meat out every monday, or trying a week without meat--every little bit helps! Easy changes like these will work towards ending hunger, slowing climate change, and promoting healthy, enduring human lives. It's time to start protecting our planet, after all, we could all use a little more ‘green’ in our diets.

For more information see:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/21/giving-up-beef-reduce-carbon-footprint-more-than-cars
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-014-1169-1
https://www.ted.com/talks/graham_hill_weekday_vegetarian
http://www.meatlessmonday.com/

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