Meatless Monday is not an original idea. Cities in Europe and North America have been trying for several years to cut greenhouse gases by eating one vegetarian meal a week. The Agriculture Organization of the United Nations finds that “…livestock accounts for 18% of worldwide greenhouse gases, more than that emitted by all forms of transportation combined, and is a leading cause of deforestation and water pollution.”
It is Sir Paul McCartney who is spearheading the movement in Britain. He is quoted as saying, “We thought cars were the villain of the piece, but it appears that livestock produces more.”
This movement has broad backing from climate change scientists who argue that meat, apart from presenting such risks as heart disease, obesity and E.coli, is a wasteful luxury. “….we’re going to feed ten times as much grain to cattle to get a kilogram of meat compared to if we just ate the grain ourselves.”
It isn’t just CO2 that is the problem. Cattle generate even more methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2. “Vast lakes of manure dot the North American heartland, steaming nitrous oxide into the air, while antibiotics fed to our sick, grain-fed cattle ooze into our waterways.” Not a pretty picture!
My information comes from the March 29th Maclean’s magazine. I was aghast at some of the facts and figures and decided Meatless Monday could be a contribution to cutting greenhouse gases. I don’t eat much meat anyway but if we all set aside one day a week, we could make a small difference which can only grow bigger.
As Rajendra Pachouri, head of the UN panel on climate change says, simply, ” Please eat less meat.”