Does not eating meat for one day even make a difference?
Yes it does! If every American participated in Meatless Monday, or one day of the week without meat, it would have the same impact on greenhouse gas emissions as taking 240 million cars off the road each year. Dang, that’s a lot of cars.
Raising livestock for our current level of human consumption requires an extensive amount of energy and resources. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the combined exhaust of 13 percent from the entire transportation sector.
When we consider the connection between the environment and diet, it is important to note that 70 billion farmed animals are killed every year for food. This first means that land and trees need to be cleared, food and water need to be provided throughout their lives, and their waste and byproduct needs to be disposed of. The International Livestock Research Institute states that livestock occupies 45% of the global surface area. 1-2 acres, about a football field worth of rainforest are cleared every second for livestock grazing. Today, animal agriculture is responsible for up to 33% of all freshwater consumption, and 50% of all grain. These animals then produce up to 7 million pounds of waste every minute, which contaminates our water, produces methane emissions, and affects air quality. The amount of land and resources to maintain livestock is 18x as much as land required to maintain a vegan diet. Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves about 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, an equivalent of 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, and one animal's life.
Eliminating the consumption of animal products, also eliminates all of the resources required to maintain livestock.
Not only is a vegetarian or vegan diet more environmentally sustainable, but it is also a more ethical and healthy diet.
Cows, chickens, pigs, bees, humans, dogs, cats, and even fish, are capable of being aware of our surroundings, our emotions, and our feelings of, sadness, hunger, and pain. Billions of animals suffer and are killed every year for the taste and enjoyment that lasts a mere 20 minutes. As animals with a moral agency, we should be holding ourselves and each other accountable for the way that we treat other animals.
In the US, 1 out of 4 deaths is from cancer. The World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1 carcinogen, the same group as tobacco and cigarettes, and red meat as a group 2 carcinogen. Meat and dairy products have been directly correlated with increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other health issues.. The American Dietetic Association states that well planned vegan diets are healthy, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits to prevent and treat certain diseases. It also states that it is appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle. All of the necessary nutrients, protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins can be obtained from plant based and vegan sources.
We encourage all of you to learn more about the importance of an animal free diet. Here are some documentaries that can provide you with helpful information:
Forks Over Knives
What the Health
Meatless Monday is a great way to start! Healthy habits can be sustained over time and if we take small steps into something, it will grow to create a big change. Start with one meal, have oatmeal for breakfast instead of bacon. Then move into a new change when you’re ready. Eventually, you might come to find that plant based, whole foods, are much healthier for the planet, the animals, and your body.