The Eco-Impact of Meatless Mondays

I was in Mothers market this week and I found a RAW HUMMUS WRAP that has this on the container

“Adopting a plant-based diet is the single most powerful action an individual can take to stop climate change, end world hunger and save our planet”

This got my attention. So I did my research.

I found that adopting “Meatless Mondays”, we can make a serious impact on our carbon footprint by eating fewer animal foods, according to several studies. Italian researchers performed a life-cycle assessment to evaluate the cradle-to-grave environmental impact of several dietary patterns (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006.) They discovered that an organic vegan diet had the smallest environmental impact, while a conventionally farmed diet that included meat had the greatest impact on the environment. The more meat is consumed, the greater the eco-impact. Here are a few reasons:

  1. large amounts of chemical pesticides and fertilizers are used  to produce animal feed
  2. large volumes of water and fuel are needed to take animals to market.
  3. Byproducts of animal food production include high greenhouse gas emissions, toxic manure lagoons, deforestation and pollution of groundwater, rivers, streams and oceans.

Beef  has the single greatest impact on the environment. In essence, animals make inefficient “food production machines” because they use large amounts of feed, water and fossil fuels to turn plants into protein, said the scientists. Producing one calorie from beef requires forty calories of fossil fuels, whereas producing one calorie from grains requires only 2.2 calories of fuel. Thus, plant-based diets can play an important role in preserving environmental resources and in reducing hunger in poor nations.

The EWG found that eating less meat can significantly reduce one’s carbon footprint. If a person ate one less burger per week for one year, it would be the equivalent of driving 320 miles less. And if a four-person family took steak off the menu one day per week for one year, it would be like taking their car off the road for almost three months. If everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese for just one day a week, it would be like taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

Thank the “Meatless Monday” program for fueling the idea that everyone – not just vegetarians – should eat less meat and more plants. Its message is sweet and simple: People and the planet can benefit by eating less meat – so just shun it one day a week. Countless organizations, restaurants, schools and hospitals have jumped onto the bandwagon to celebrate this simple concept.