Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meatless Mondays

I have been little snippets and references to Meatless Mondays, but never the full story.  I decided I wanted to know more about Meatless Mondays and just what all the fuss is about.  This is what I learned from my google search:

*Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative who has a goal to reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

*The are asking that in place of chicken, beef, or pork, just look for protein from beans, legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds instead.

*The MeatlessMonday website states that going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
            *  REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation.[3] And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
            *  MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef.[4] Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.[5]

             *  HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S.[6] Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein.[7] Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
*There have been many cities (San Fransisco, Montreal Quebec) and school systems ( Baltimore MA School Systems, University of CA school: Berkley, Davis for example) that have already adopted Meatless Mondays, with quite a few more considering it. 
*“Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, says the goal is not to promote vegetarianism or ban meat eating altogether, it’s a way to encourage kids to eat less meat and more vegetables.”
Now no matter what the topic of discussion is, there are always many sides, thoughts and research.  That being said, I found some articles that are on the opposite end of the stick of Meatless Monday.
Below are some excerpts from an article I found on Drovers website this morning.  To read the whole article, go here.
'The big lie that has been repeated so often that many now consider it a fact is the claim made four years ago by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that “cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation.”

The report, titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow — Environmental Issues and Options,” was immediately used by animal-rights activists to argue that we should all become vegetarians in an effort to save the planet. That, of course, is hogwash. And now some scientists agree the analysis was, well, hogwash.

Frank Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California at Davis, delivered a report last month to the American Chemical Society that undercut most of the claims about livestock and climate change.

Lower consumption of meat and dairy products will not have a major impact in combating global warming, Mitloehner says, despite persistent claims to the contrary. He says cows and pigs have gotten a “bum rap.” The claims that livestock are to blame for global warming are both “scientifically inaccurate” and a dangerous distraction from more important issues.'
'Humans can reduce greenhouse-gas production, Mitloehner says, “but not by consuming less meat and milk. Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries.” He adds that “smarter animal farming, not less farming, will equal less heat.”
Further, Mitloehner says, “The developed world should focus on increasing efficient meat production in developing countries where growing populations need more nutritious food. In developing countries, we should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices to make more food with less greenhouse-gas production.”
Hmmm … that advice sounds strangely like utilizing modern technology and efficiency to help feed the world’s growing population. Why hasn’t somebody thought of that before? '

Now while I applaud anyone for choosing ot eat healthier and take care of our land, Idon't think I am convinced that Meatless Mondays is going to do any of this. 

1 comment:

  1. There's an old saying:
    "Its very hard to make someone understand something if their livelihood depends on them not understanding."

    Frank Mitloehner received tens of thousands of dollars from the Beef industry for his research, and articles are already circulating about the fact that his critique is miniscule and the conclusions he draws from it (that we shouldn't eat less meat) are completely non-sequitors.

    Here is just one example:

    The science is clear to anyone who isn't financially invested in the livestock industry.