Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Global Food News: Meatless Monday

Have no fear carnivores!  Today, as you are probably aware, is Wednesday; so if today's post inspires you, you have plenty of time to gear up for once-a-week vegetarianism.  Meatless Monday is an international, non-profit campaign that encourages people to go one day a week without meat or meat products.  The initiative was begun in the US in 2003, by ad man (and philanthropist) Sid Lerner, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and has now spread to 23 countries around the globe. Here in Hong Kong, the movement's most visible advocates are our fine friends at Green Monday.

Why go meatless, you ask? Reducing your overall meat consumption can and will reduce your risk of preventable conditions like obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease; and by cutting back on meat for just one day a week, you'll trim your carbon footprint (animals require more energy to grow and process than do plants) as well.  To give you a little perspective, Green Monday reports that "if everyone in Hong Kong [gave] up meat one day a week, it would be like taking 86,000 cars off the road." Occasionally abstaining from eating meat (and thus pledging your "vote" for less meat to be produced) also serves to combat global hunger. Another statistic from Green Monday: "One hectare of land used to plant fruits, vegetables, cereals and vegetable fats feeds 30 people. One hectare of land used to produce meat, eggs, and milk feeds only 5-10 people." Taking meat out of your diet for one day a week is a very simple way to pledge your commitment to improvement of personal health, abatement of global food insecurity, preservation of resources, and protection of the environment.

You can, of course, choose to go meatless any day of the week, but Monday was chosen because, as the people at Meatless Monday so aptly put it, "Monday we move from the freedom of the weekend back to the structure of work or school. We set our intentions for the next six days. We plan ahead and evaluate progress."  So this coming Monday, think about going meatless. Think about taking the pledge to go meatless every Monday.  It's easy, with all the stresses of life, to forget to stay present and care; and it can feel like what we do in our personal lives won't really make much of a difference.  But our small acts - acts as simple as choosing not to eat meat on Mondays or deciding to purchase a TFT meal - can make a huge impact on our own lives, on the lives of others, and on the earth itself.

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