Eco-Challenge:Meatless Monday

You may have seen our 50th Anniversary Eco-Challenges and noticed that this week, we asked everyone to participate in Meatless Monday….

First question – WHY meatless? – Most of us are aware that reducing meat in our diets and adding more plant-based foods is better for our health, but did you also know that it’s better for the environment’s health too? Not only will we be lowering our risk for diseases like cancer, obesity, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes, but we will also be lowering our Carbon and Water Footprint! Use these calculators to discover your water footprint and your carbon footprint. 

carbon footprint food calculator
In order to find out your Carbon Footprint, this particular calculator has you input the amount of specific meats that you eat each month, week, or day. You may be shocked by your results specifically due to the meat that you eat!

The environmental impact of the meat industry is staggering, from the valuable natural resources used in farming to the enormous amount of greenhouse gases released in production. Did you know that agriculture alone is responsible for consuming 80% of the United State’s usable water and that livestock production makes up for roughly half of the world’s created emissions?! 1 beef hamburger (with Lettuce, tomato, and onion) uses 660 gallons of water to create from start to finish and 1 kilogram of beef is the rough equivalent of driving 63 miles (and not in a Prius or hybrid!). Ham takes 135 gallons of water to create. Raising a living creature requires a lot of water (you need to let them drink and use water to raise the crops to feed them). Processing the meat from those animals requires a lot of water, fossil fuels, and energy whereas producing a salad made of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers takes only 21 gallons. Keeping the meat cold and transporting it also requires a lot of energy.

By reducing how much meat we eat – even by just one day per week – will make a large, positive impact on the carbon and water consumed.

Next question – Why Monday? – Well, research shows that we, since Monday is the beginning of our week, put a lot of significance on the day. When we start something new, we typically hold off until the start of the next week, which is on Monday. Perhaps by using Monday, we will be more likely to start the creation of “going” meatless a new habit. If Monday doesn’t work for you, make it Thursday, or Tuesday! In fact, even saying that you’ll cut meat out of one meal each day (no, we don’t need bacon for breakfast, turkey sandwiches for lunch, and a grilled steak for dinner!!!) is a great start. Maybe saying that oatmeal will work for breakfast, or peanut butter & jelly will suffice for lunch! Check out these great dishes that’ll make you never look back on your decision!

penne with eggplant in yoghurt-tomato sauce and basil
Just because it doesn’t have meat doesn’t mean it’s not going to be yummy!

Third and final question (this one’s from us!) – We’ll try it out. Will you?

Remember, not only will this better the environment, but it will also benefit your’s and your family’s health. The idea of cutting out meat for one day may not be exciting for everyone in your family, but knowing that you will participate as a family will likely get everyone on board and the positive impact that it’ll have can keep you encouraged!

Are you inspired now? Show us your Meatless dishes and recipes using #BucksAudubonInspired to share with us and to help encourage others to join in the fun! We’ll share the variety of things you can do here, so be sure to check back!





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