This suggestion isn’t just for our own personal well-being.
This is for the well-being of all humanity—and all other species living on Earth.
Because this simple habit can help protect our habitat, thereby protecting our own longevity. For the planet will go on without us if we fail to get climate change under control.
And the habit I’m proposing, for your consideration, is going meat-free on Mondays (or any other day of your fancy).
Would you believe that burping cows and sheep are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the global transport industry? That’s all cars, planes, trains and ships on the planet—coming in second place to the livestock industry.
And a UN-commissioned report has concluded that in order to truly tackle the issue of climate change, our meat and dairy consumption has to drop.
We don’t all have to become vegetarians or vegans (although, that would give us a double-whammy on the animal welfare front as well as climate change). But collectively reducing our meat and dairy consumption will not only have a significant impact—researchers are telling us it’s essential if we are to stay within the all-important 2°C limit.
Reducing meat consumption lowers demand which will lead to decreased production. And decreased livestock production will benefit all of us in many ways:
>>It will save billions of gallons of water—for the animals and the crops to feed them.
>>It will free up land growing crops for animals for land to grow plant-based food for humans—tackling hunger issues in the developing world and diet-related health issues in the developed world.
>>It will save on the vast amounts of energy consumed in the livestock industry.
>>It will reduce the numbers of intensively raised animals, enduring cramped living conditions and often treated cruelly.
>>It will reduce the gases being emitted by these animals—it may seem like a joke, but left unchecked cow farts and belching could be the death of all of us.
If every meat-eating reader of elephant journal were to commit to a minimum of one meat-free day a week, the collective effect would be meaningful. Per person, per day we would save:
>>Enough carbon emissions to boil a kettle of water 388 times
>>The daily water usage of nine people
>Up to 11g. of fat
>> Up to 90 calories
Bring your families on board for even greater impact. Make it a fun challenge.
If you already participate in Meat Free Mondays, consider extending it. Could you do two days? Meat-free weekends, perhaps? Or even meat-free weekdays with meat as a treat at weekends?
Or, stick with one day per week and invite friends to join you—inspiring them to make it a new habit too.
There are a tonne of free resources online to support building a new meat-free habit. Here on elephant journal we have plenty of meal plan and recipes ideas in the Meat Free Monday archives. And you can follow Elephant Recipes, Elephant Food and Elephant Vegetarian & Vegan on Facebook for inspiration and recipe links too.
As I said, we don’t have to cut out all meat and dairy. But reducing it will help us all—and should also improve our personal health.
So, while reflecting on what new habits you want to put in place for this new year, please give some serious consideration to a meat-free habit that will work for you.
Here’s to a healthy new year.
Author: Hilda Carroll
Image: flickr/Bruce Tuten
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock