Let’s spread the word about the Meatless Monday movement in 2010.
It’s not a new thing. Meatless Mondays were promoted first by the U.S. Government during World War I to conserve supplies of key food staples for soldiers abroad. Herbert Hoover began the campaign, as head of the Food Administration and the American Relief Association, during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, as a way of promoting volunteerism and personal sacrifice while the country was at war.
They even made menus available to support the effort.
Most recently Meatless Mondays have been promoted by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Center for a Livable Future. The U.S. Department of Agriculture supports the initiative with nutritional guidelines for those who are skeptical about going meatless for even one day.
With the threat of global climate change upon us, this simple action represents an important and powerful step we all can take. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 20 percent of greenhouse gases are caused by the meat industry. (Many estimates are even higher.) University of Chicago geophysicists estimate that, if we all cut our meat consumption by 20 percent (the approximate decrease achieved if everyone in the United States participated in Meatless Mondays), the reduction in greenhouse gas production would be the equivalent of every American switching to a hybrid vehicle. That’s huge!
Twelve billion gallons of gasoline would be saved if every American went meatless for one day a week during the coming year.
Producing meat takes a lot of water and pollutes our rivers and streams. According to the United Nations, meat production is responsible for nearly half of the stream and river pollution in this country. The production of one pound of beef takes about 2500 gallons of water to produce, compared to soy, which takes about 220 gallons. By participating in Meatless Mondays, an individual could save more than 800 gallons of water a week.
As if protecting our environment weren’t enough reason to take personal action, consider the positive health impact of cutting just one day’s meat consumption. Going meatless for one day a week reduces a person’s saturated fat intake by 15 percent, decreasing the chance of stroke, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Let’s join Al Gore, Paul McCartney, the Baltimore public schools and millions of others in 2010 by joining the Meatless Monday movement. Check out the Huffington Post’s weekly Meatless Monday recipe column and get inspired.
There’s plenty of help available on the Meatless Monday website. Most importantly, let’s all spread the word about this simple idea!