This may sound familiar, but let’s recap: vegetarian, whole unprocessed food is the healthiest for all people, and our planet! It is nutritious, practical, and yes, it is the most sustainable option. People in the western society, and increasingly in other cultures around the world, are eating twice as much meat as a few decades ago.
In an awareness-raising campaign a few years ago the founder of Treehugger, Graham Hill, hurled a few statistics at the audience during his TED Talk:
– Environmentally, meat, amazingly, causes more emissions than all the transportation combined.
– Beef production uses a 100 times the water that all vegetables grown.
Unfortunately, in North America, chicken and beef are now the staple of SAD (Standard American) diets. In fact, they are pushing fruit and vegetables to the narrow confines at the top of the food pyramid. Consequently, in order to produce enough meat to fulfill that proportion of demand, and factoring in the growth of population along with an increase in per capita consumption, agribusiness is shifting to predominantly feed the animals that feed the people. If we were fed naturally and locally, the land used for animal farming and food manufacturing would be freed up for cultivating nutritious and mineral-rich fresh produce.
Alas, common sense and good intentions are in conflict with the taste buds. And, in the end, everyone weighs their options differently. But taking individual steps, bit by bit, collectively, we can make a difference that profoundly affects us all. Individual decisions greatly impact the rest by understanding, sharing knowledge and focusing on the positive outcome.
So, instead of a complete opt-out at first, Hill proposed an alternate solution during the ‘transition’ period: the “weekday veg”: Nothing with a face Monday-Friday. On the weekend – your choice. Good for starters.
“Cutting out meat 5 days a week cuts 70% of individual meat consumption. The footprint is smaller, the pollution is less impacted, the money is saved, and we are healthier, we will live longer and lose weight. For health, the pocket book, for the environment and the animals – if all of us ate half as much meat, it would be like half of us are vegetarians.”
This day is for raising awareness, and sharing information about the harmful effects of meat production and consumption. It’s not just 1 day of the year to forgo meat and think that will make a difference.
In the UK, the Meat-free Monday campaign has been quite successful in reaching out to people, and it’s backed by Sir Paul McCartney and Stella McCartney, famous vegetarian activists. It’s a solid start, so here’s hoping that it will soon branch out across the rest of the week. Researching this post, I just found out that it’s Meatless March, a whole month for the “veg-curious” to experiment. Vegetarian diet is so versatile and completely nutritious that there is no need to go back to eating meat!
If the history of the world and evolution has taught us anything it is that 1) we are able to adapt to any needs, and 2) that we, as a species, are here for a relatively short time.