We’re eating too much meat – the average American eats over 222 pounds of the stuff every year. This is not sustainable in a number of ways:
1.) The world cannot support that level of meat consumption by the US, let alone the world.
2.) The human body is not meant to ingest that much meat, and the health effects are palpable – look at obesity and heart disease statistics.
3.) Animals cannot possibly be treated humanely at such a high level of production.
So, what to do then? Well, becoming a vegetarian is one way of not participating in this insane industry. Chances are if you’re reading this you’re already one – or are at least thinking about becoming one. If you do decide to become vegetarian, you’ll be joining a growing throng of concerned citizens. There are currently over 7 million vegetarians in the US right now, or roughly 3.5% of the population. That number seems to be on the rise.
San Francisco recently passed an initiative in the state legislature to make every Monday Meat-Free. This is a great way to increase food awareness, promote healthy eating, and conserve resources. This initiative is far from a governed mandate – it’s simply a recommendation approved by the city’s legislative body.
San Francisco is not the first place to adopt this policy. Meat-Free Monday began in Ghent, Belgium in 2009, and Sir Paul McCartney soon became a champion for the same cause in the UK, dramatically increasing global awareness of the movement. Israel then jumped on board, becoming the first nation to declare Monday as Meat-Free.
All this has significant ramifications on individuals, companies, and state agencies. Individuals are becoming more aware of what food they eat, and how meat affects their lives and the world at large. Businesses are then encouraged to accommodate the increased demand for vegetarian friendly foods, decreasing the overall demand for meat and, in turn, the supply. There will surely be a push by the meat industry in short order to counter the Meat-Free brand, where they will tap into America’s obsession with protein. State agencies are affected by Meat-Free Mondays by making their own changes in the way they operate their municipalities. For instance, Baltimore City Public Schools recently emerged as the first school district to adopt the Meat-Free Monday policy – all meals offered by the school this day are vegetarian.
So the effects of these proclamations are very real. By reducing our overall meat consumption – by a meager one day a week, even – we are reducing our environmental foot print and promoting good health. Hopefully more cities, states, and nations will follow suit and initiate their own Meat-Free Monday’s.