Living a plant-based lifestyle offers many benefits, not only to your health, but to the welfare of animals and future of the environment as well. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, meat production is responsible for at least 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than all forms of transportation combined. Nearly 60 percent of the carbon footprint of the average U.S. household diet comes from animal products.
In addition, animal agriculture has taken over nearly half the landmass of the lower 48 states, and contributes to the pollution of 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and groundwater in 17 states.
As a movement, #MeatlessMonday has increased awareness by educating consumers on the impact meat consumption has on our planet. By cutting just one-third of the meat from our diets, we can each save as much as 340,667 gallons of water, more than 4,000 square feet of land, and the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 2,700 fewer miles a year. Many of our current environmental crises are either directly caused by or worsened by our culture's dependence on meat. By eating less meat, we give the world and wildlife a break.
Reducing your meat consumption is much easier than it seems. The first (and only step) is to eat less meat. The less beef, chicken, pork and other meat you consume, the greater the positive impact on the planet and other species. If every American eliminated meat just one night a week, the emissions savings would be like taking 30 million to 40 million cars off the road for a year! You can slowly build up to #MeatlessMonday and eventually make plant-based eating your daily lifestyle.
Fun Ways to Start Reducing Your Meat Consumption
Cutting meat from your meals is easier than you might think and can be fun. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Host a Potluck for the Planet: Invite friends and family over to share their favorite meatless recipes.
Create an Earth-friendly Office: Your coworkers are probably already into recycling and saving energy, so why not make the break room a little greener by taking turns bringing in meat-free lunches or snacks to share?
Think Global, Eat Local: Hang out at your local farmers’ market. Not only will you find fresh, seasonal produce, but the vendors usually have great preparation ideas (P.S. Be sure to check out the P.S. Blog to find out which items are in season every month!).
Virtual Recipe Swap: Start a recipe-sharing Pinterest board or Instagram your latest, greatest planet-friendly creation.
Earth-friendly Diet on the Go: If you’re on the road or don’t feel like cooking, download the Happy Cow app to find restaurants and hotspots with meatless options wherever you are.
P.S. You can learn more about #MeatlessMondays by visiting Take Extinction Off Your Plate.