If you’ve ever wondered how your diet affects the environment, it has a much larger impact than you may think. While buying local food and produce is one way to cut down on your carbon footprint, cutting out red meat for one day a week actually has a much larger impact than buying all your food locally. Due to the research that led to these discoveries, Meatless Monday came about.
Meatless Monday was created with the goal of helping participants reduce their meat consumption by 15%. According to the website, going meatless reduces chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It also saves resources such as fossil fuels and water, used by the meat industry in mass quantities.
Eating a burger might give you a bit of instant gratification, but once you hear the statistics and dangers brought on to the earth by the meat industry, the aftertaste becomes a little less satisfying.
Wondering why they choose Monday to go meatless? It’s not just because Meatless Mondays is catchy, but the patterns we begin on Monday, the fresh start of the week, tend to carry over throughout the next 6 days. Humans are more likely to carry the patterns started on Monday throughout the rest of the week. If you set a goal of going meatless every Monday, you just might find that going meatless happens naturally throughout the next few days. Even if you don’t go meatless on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, you just might find yourself inspired to make healthier food choices.
Need more motivation to try out Meatless Monday? Here are some statistics on the environmental impact of meat production:
- It takes about 60 pounds of water to produce a pound of potatoes, 108 for a pound of wheat, 168 for a pound of corn, 229 for a pound of rice, and 12,000 gallons for a pound of meat.
- The meat and livestock industry is responsible for 37% of methane and 65% of nitrous oxide emissions in the world.
- In the United States, 80% of aquatic habitats in streams have been harmed and negatively impacted by the grazing of livestock.
- In New Zealand, livestock is responsible for approximately half of their greenhouse emissions.
- Protein production through the consumption of livestock requires 8 times as many fossil fuels to be produced than protein derived from plants.
- A poultry farm uses more ammonia than steel mills and oil refineries combined.
The numbers speak for themselves; going meatless one day a week is perhaps one of the easiest and simplest ways you can eat healthier and go easier on the environment. Who knows, you may end up expanding your palette and finding new foods you never would have tried. Recipes and tips are available on the website for a simple and effortless transition.
Have you tried Meatless Monday? We’d love to hear some of your favorite vegetarian recipes!
Image CC licensed by SweetOnVeg: vegetarian enchiladas