Less Meat Protects Earth

Did you know that April is Earth Month, and April 22 is International Earth Day?

Pam Waitinas, an SND Associate, asked me to promote Meatless Mondays on this website. I was not familiar with this movement. Katie Drager, the co-director of my community’s Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office, provided ample information for me. If you are as clueless as I was, read on and you may decide to adopt this simple way to help save our planet.

Meatless Mondays is a global movement encouraging people to forgo eating meat one day a week. It needn’t be Monday, but the alliteration makes for a good name. Besides, research shows that Monday is the day people are most open to make a positive change. Also, the practice of a meatless Monday might lead to eating more vegetables and fruit the rest of the week.

Why would anyone choose to skip meat for a day? Two reasons. First, for our own good. Eating less meat and more plant-based foods helps prevent or control some chronic diseases. Second, for the good of the earth. According to the Environment Protection Agency, if every American practiced meatless Mondays for a year, about 1.4 billion animals would not be killed, which would lower the emission of greenhouse gases by the equivalent of ten billion charged smartphones. The practice could save about 100 billion gallons of water, 70 million gallons of gas, and three million acres of land.

Changing a food choice can be challenging, especially for those of us who love meat (and chocolate). Chances are there are dishes you like that don’t or needn’t contain meat. Think pizza, pasta dishes, salads. Eat those. Or you might replace meat in a favorite meal with something else. One Thanksgiving when the dinner for my mom and me was locked inside her house (!), my neighbor who was a vegan treated us to an entire meal with tofu instead of turkey. It was delicious! Numerous meatless meals can be found on the Internet.

Meatless Mondays might seem like a tiny thing to do, but the movement is growing momentum. Schools, hospitals, restaurants, and people are adopting it in forty countries.

During World War I, President Wilson asked everyone to have a meatless Tuesday and one meatless meal every day. The practice was repeated during World War II. Today in view of the damage done to Earth, there may be even a greater need for it.

Please consider adopting Meatless Mondays yourself for the sake of your health, the environment, and the welfare of animals. Here is a chart that lists some of the benefits:

What is your favorite meatless meal?

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