I would like to use this blog as a forum to discuss the Meatless Mondays campaign and the Meat on Monday campaign that has been developed in response. This will be accomplished in 4 parts, following an article I recently wrote.
Part 1 is the perspective of a vegan and vegetarian who support the efforts of this campaign. Please comment on how you feel about this campaign, the statements made in the article, your personal experiences, etc.
An American Tradition Restored
Americans have returned to their World War I roots, reviving the Food and Drug Administration’s Meatless Mondays food rationing campaign with the Meatless Mondays public health awareness program of today.
Meatless Monday is one, non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, an organization devoted to starting and sustaining healthy lifestyles, in association with Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Supporters say reduced meat consumption leads to reduced carbon footprints, reduced climate change and improved health.
“I would like to encourage everyone to learn about the food that they eat,” Meatless Monday proponent Melissa Dion said. “Ignorance is not always bliss.”
Animals are mass produced for consumption at an unnatural rate, said Meatless Monday supporter Brittany Brandon, a senior in sociology at the University of Illinois.
“Because there are so many animals, the amount of methane gas they release into the air is causing a lot of greenhouse effects that affects the ozone layer, which contributes to pollution,” Brandon said. “It is a significant amount contributed.”
Proponents of the campaign state the health benefits include: increased lifespan, improved diet, obesity avoidance and reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
Dion said she saw lots of improvements in her health and lifestyle since beginning this eating lifestyle in 2008. “I feel really great and I have a lot more energy.”
United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry is responsible for almost one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gases. The campaign hopes to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry.
“Meatless Mondays is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and become healthier,” Dion said.
Water usage is also a concern of Meatless Monday supporters. A study prepared for the Water Education Foundation estimates 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water is required for each pound of beef produced compared to 220 gallons for tofu.
In addition to health and environmental benefits, there are financial gains to going meatless, said Brandon. “It costs too much to consume meat,” Brandon said.
“Healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, rice and beans are cheaper than meat,” Dion said.
Brandon recommends research and making sure it is “something you really want to do” before making the switch to Meatless Mondays. “To give up meat after you have been eating it so long, that’s like throwing your body out of whack,” Brandon said.
“It is a great way to test out vegetarianism before taking the plunge,” Dion said.
Brandon said, “If people raise awareness about the benefits of not eating meat and make it more publically aware, then it will rise in popularity-but as long as people don’t know it will be something people just do.”
Dion said, Meatless Mondays will continue to grow in popularity. “Oprah is now doing Meatless Mondays,” Dion said. “This is just the beginning.”
Is it just the beginning???? What do you think?