Vegetarians… typically you hear how these crazy people choose to give up meat because they want to help the animals, or that it’s better for your health, or to help the environment, or maybe for whatever social and economic goal they are trying to achieve. As an environmentalist, I often get asked if I eat meat and I’m going to be honest, I do. Just a little background of the environmental impact meat has on our Earth from PETA:
- It takes sixteen pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. 70% of the grain we grow for things like cereals ends up being use to feed farmed animals.
- Requires eleven times for fossil fuels from the production to the consumption of one calorie of animal protein that one calorie of plant protein.
- One pound of meat requires 2,400 gallons of water while one pound of grain only requires 25 gallons.
- The fecal byproducts of the animals contaminate groundwater supply and the methane gas also contributes heavily to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Thousands of aces in the rainforests are not being chopped down for their trees to make paper, but to clear land to create animal factory farms.
- Including the land used to grow the feed crops and land used for grazing, more than 30% of the Earth’s land mass is used to produce meat.
- “According to the Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads”
Wow huh. I typically get an array of responses and I honestly feel like a hypocrite. I have contemplated giving up meat before, but at the end of the day I come to realization that I would be giving up so many things that I love to eat and meat makes me happy. This was my pattern of thought for a while, until my friend suggested we try Meat Free Mondays.
Meat Free Mondays is a campaign started by Paul McCartney with his daughters Stella and Mary. The purpose of Meat Free Mondays is not asking you not to give up meat completely, but to do your part in reducing your environmental impact associated with the meat industry. Not only will this help the Earth, it will help your health by eating more vegetables instead of meat, and it will also save you some money too.
Being EGOlogical isn’t about altering your life completely for environmental change, it’s about the little steps you can do that add up. By participating in Meat Free Mondays and giving up meat simply once a week, you will be greatly reducing your environmental footprint. A few of my friends and I have done Meat Free Mondays for the past two weeks and I must say, it is an extremely rewarding experience. I previously felt that by giving up meat, I would be sacrificing some of my happiness not eating the things I love. However, each Monday I now experience a different kind of happiness from knowing that I did something great for the environment and my health. And that happiness is a whole lot stronger and much more rewarding than any happiness, or maybe I should say, satisfaction, I have or would feel from eating meat.
This experience has been extremely rewarding so far. I find that I am trying a lot more foods that I would have usually ignored too. Maybe one day you will decide to be a full-time vegetarian/vegan. But for now, giving up meat once a week is a great step. If you would like more information about Meat Free Monday, visit www.meatfreemondays.com and find out how this small step can have a huge impact.