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Stories and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems, written by a beginning farmer/gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Meatless Mondays (and Tuesdays, and Wednesdays?)

Did you know that cows are big contributors to global warming? Their waste gives off methane, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming. According to HowStuffWorks.com, "Cows emit a massive amount of methane through belching, with a lesser amount through flatulence...Some experts say 100 liters to 200 liters a day..., while others say it's up to 500 liters...a day...[either way, it's] an amount comparable to the pollution produced by a car in a day."

So avoiding beef and dairy products helps reduce your contribution to global warming by reducing the need for as many cows in the world. Of course, one person boycotting the beef industry for a day won't do much, but if hundreds or thousands of people did, the need for beef and dairy would reduce and there'd be less cows polluting the skies.



In fact, all animals raised for food contribute to the use of resources and water--everything does, of course. So reducing the consumption of chicken, turkey, and other farmed animals again reduces your environmental impact. And if you generally buy your meat from Safeway rather than locally, you decrease your carbon footprint by avoiding meat because you aren't consuming something that was driven from far away.

During World War II, Meatless Mondays came into effect to conserve meat to send to the troops overseas. Today, the environmental movement and those concerned with their health (and their wallets) have taken that alliterated term and used it to reduce meat consumption. Back then, they were more concerned about conserving beef, as you can see below in the old poster from the U.S. Food Administration, but for today's purposes, why not eliminate poultry and all meat and dairy products?

I started participating in Meatless Mondays two weeks ago and found that it isn't very difficult. For one day in the week (doesn't have to be Monday), just opt for a vegetarian or vegan diet, depending on how far you want to take it. Here are the official guidelines set out by the Meatless Mondays organization.

If you want to go for completely zero-dairy, zero-meat, like I've been doing, try these options: For breakfast, pull out that cereal box and pour some soy or rice milk on it. Or slap some Earth Balance buttery spread (dairy-free!) onto some toast. Before you make that turkey sandwich for lunch, how about classic PB&J? Rather than have chicken or beef for dinner, have beans or opt for a no-protein dinner and stick to the veggies and starches.


It can be fun to try out interesting meatless meals. The Meatless Mondays website has a bunch of recipes you can try, as well as additional information about the organization. The website's focus is more on health than environment, but reducing meat consumption helps both. And if you're feeling adventurous, why not try to make Meatless Monday extend into Tuesday, or even Wednesday? Who knows, perhaps you'll find the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is for you! (Just be sure you get enough protein and supplements so you stay healthy.)

3 comments:

  1. Well Hello, Melissa. You have an outstanding blog here. It says "feasible green tips for kids and teens," but the things you post here are for everyone. You're an excellent writer too. It is truly outstanding that someone such as you is doing this blog. Keep up the good work; the earth needs more like you....

    Thanks also for linking to my blog. I am honored and humbled that you like what you read there. I'll be linking to your blog soon.

    Peace to you

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Melissa-

    I'm writing to you today from Meatless Monday. Your post on Meatless Monday really covers what the Meatless Monday movement is all about- an easy, small lifestyle change anyone can make easily to positively impact our health and conserve our environmental resources. Meatless Monday is affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, so it can be a great resource for nutrition articles.

    I'm thrilled you've started observing Meatless Monday once a week and find the ecoconserving act pretty effortless. (I do too, there are some great resources meatless recipes all over, these days.) Many bloggers enjoy writing a weekly Meatless Monday post on their blog, where they outline the recipe and post photos (either one from our recipe archive or their own- it's up to you.)

    Would you be interested in starting your own Meatless Monday post? Let me know. I'd love to be in better touch with you so we can more coordinate outreach efforts. Please email me if you're interested in starting your own weekly Meatless Monday post. jlee@mondaycampaigns.org.

    Thanks!

    -Joey Lee
    Executive Assistant
    Meatless Monday

    ReplyDelete
  3. I forgot to mention, we're so thrilled with this post we've linked to your blog and featured you as one of our featured friends this week. Check it out: http://www.meatlessmonday.com

    -Joey

    ReplyDelete

I love reading comments and am always up for a discussion! Thank you!

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