The meatless movement is recorded to have started as early as World War One, where governments worldwide urged their populations to cut down on staples such as meat and wheat in order to take the food production burden off the war effort. More recently it was publicized by Paul McCartney’s late wife Linda McCartney, a devout vegetarian whose work launched a Meatless Monday movement in the UK, and in 2009 in Australia. Ghent in Belgium became the first city to announce an official meatless day “Donderdag VeggieDag” Veggie Thursday, and in 2010 San Francisco became the first US city with an official meat-free day, making Monday their Vegetarian Day.
According to FAO, the meat industry could be causing between 18-50% of the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change- on average producing a pound of meat takes 76 times more energy than producing a pound of anything else. [Ie. Vegetable production= sun+water for a few months= food. Meat production= vegetable production (sun+water) --> feed to animal--> do it again, for years= food.] Meat production also requires (far) more water than vegetable production, and is a huge source of water and river pollution.
According to The TerraPass Footprint “Shifting one day of red meat per week to fruits and veggies is the equivalent of 1,160 miles of driving [per year]” ie. 1000 lbs of carbon. [And giving up meat entirely = 8100 miles, ie. more than 5000 pounds of carbon.] Geophysicists at the University of Chicago estimate that cutting down meat consumption by 20% would be the environmental equivalent of every American switching to an ultra-efficient vehicle.
Long story short: Cut back on meat for one day a week, and save yourself 1000 pounds of carbon a year.
So, here are a few resources to get you started and a great simple dinner plan for when you’re in a pinch:
- The Vegetarian Times also offers gluten-free, vegan, egg-free, and low-cal recipe options
- PETA is always a good resource for people looking to go veg and vegan
- The Guardian has a great vegetarian listing
- and these are a few favorite vegetarian food blogs: Veggie Belly, The Lazy Vegetarian, and KarmaFree Cooking. There are also many many vegan food blogs if you’re interested in giving up animal products too.
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You’re invited to a GLC dinner:
To munch on while your guests are milling about: Homemade hummous with pita chips and fresh vegetables
A light starter: Roasted and curried butternut squash soup
Dinner is served: Saffron risotto with Goat cheese, green bean, pea and caramelized walnut salad and Rosemary roasted sweet potatoes
The proof is in the pudding: Apple and pear tarts, Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding.