MEATLESS MONDAY… WHY MORE OF US NEED TO DO IT
You may have heard about Meatless Mondays, but what is all the fuss about? You may think it is another health kick, trying to persuade you to eat more plant based food. Well, I have to agree that eating like a vegetarian even for one day will improve your health, but there is a lot more to Meatless Monday.
The Gas - Animals such as cows, sheep and goats produce methane, a by-product of their digestion of plants. Methane gas can trap more heat on the earth’s surface than the carbon produced by fossil fuels. In fact, twenty times more than carbon.
Fossil Fuel - Production animals are animals that are grown in huge numbers for their meat, skin/wool and their produce such as milk. A huge amount of energy is required to maintain these animals, providing housing and food. Petroleum based machinery is required to till and harvest the land, while energy is required for items such as milking machines and housing.
Manure - Herbivores produce ten times more waste manure each year than humans. Yuk! That is a lot of S***! But the problem doesn’t stop there with the mountain of waste. Often this waste can leach into the waterways, polluting the ecosystem and drinking water .
Water – Huge amounts of water is needed to irrigate the grains and plants needed to feed production animals. It takes 200 litres of water to produce around 1kg of wheat. One third of the crops grown worldwide are used to feed animals. That is a lot of water before we even give the livestock any water to drink.
Hormones and antibiotics – These are given to ensure faster growth and prevent disease effects to livestock and poultry. Both the hormones and antibiotics end up in the meat, milk and eggs that we eat.
Change to the surrounding environment – Large areas of land are required for livestock and therefore, land is cleared to make room for grazing. With deforestation comes a change to the ecosystem. Native plants are lost, which in turn creates a change in the insect and animal life of the area. Changes like these promote erosion of soil and often contamination due to the high use of chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides to ensure the correct grasses and grains grow for the herds.
Why do Meatless Mondays?
“When a family of four takes meat and cheese off the menu one day a week, it’s like taking their car off the road for five weeks or reducing their daily showers by three minutes” states the Environmental Working Group.
For those who eat meat, it does provide iron, zinc and vitamins B-12, B-6 and niacin to the body. Some plants/vegetables/legumes provide some of these nutrients, but if going vegetarian supplements may be required. However, skipping meat can improve your health, particularly if you eat a lot of meat. A diet with a high intake of meat is associated with health issues such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 disease and cancer.
Limiting our consumption will reduce the impact meat and it's production has on the environment. It will reduce the change to the land, the water, the air and the use of fossil fuels. It is your chance to reduce your impact on the environment, but also help your health at the same time.
Time to give it a go and be more earthly passionate.
Attracta & the earthly passion team
Environmental Working Group
Food and Drug Administration
United States Geological Survey