Meat Free Monday, Paul writes for

Meat Free Monday, Paul writes for

With the Meat Free Monday campaign in mind, Paul was asked to write
something for Gwyneth Paltrows website.

He wrote the following, Ok, here‚Is the story on Meat Free Monday.

In 2006, the United Nations issued a report which stated that the
livestock industry as a whole was responsible for more greenhouse gas
emissions than the whole of the transport sector put together. I found
this interesting particularly because people at the UN are not a
vegetarian society and therefore, could not be accused of bias.

They pointed out the following facts: The Livestock industry
produces gases that are extremely dangerous for the future of our
environment. The two main gases, methane and nitrous oxide, are
considered to be more harmful than CO2 (methane is 21 times more
powerful than CO2 and nitrous oxide is 310 times more powerful than
CO2) so the data suggests that this is causing a highly dangerous
situation for ourselves and, more importantly, for future generations.
Methane also remains in the atmosphere for 9 to 15 years; nitrous
oxide remains in the atmosphere for 114 years, on average, and is 296
times more potent than CO2 - the gases released today will continue to
be active in degrading the climate decades from now.

Livestock production is land intensive: a recent report by
Greenpeace on land use in the largest meat producing state in Brazil
found that livestock (cattle) production was responsible for vastly
more deforestation than soya. A third of all cereal crops, and well
over 90% of soya, goes into animal feed, not food for humans. Eating
less meat will free up a lot of agricultural land which can revert to
growing trees and other vegetation, which, in turn, will absorb more
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Livestock production is water
intensive: it accounts for around 8% of global human water use. The
estimated 634 gallons of fresh water required to produce one 5.2 ounce
(150g) beef burger would be enough for a four-hour shower. For
comparison, the same quantity of tofu requires 143 gallons of water to
produce. Livestock production is the largest source of water
pollutants, principally animal wastes, antibiotics, hormones,
chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feed
crops, and sediments from eroded pastures.

The meat industry is set to double its production by 2050 so even
if they manage to lower emissions by 50%, as they have promised to, we
will still be in the same position. With this in mind, my family and I
launched Meat Free Monday in the UK, an idea which has been gaining
support from people like Tom Parker-Bowles who, after a lifetime of
denigrating vegetarians, recently wrote in his Daily Mail column, I
wince at the memory of my boorish antics‚ and who pronounced
himself ‚intrigued‚ by MFM: ‚ÄúThere's
no doubting the plain common sense of the message‚ Meat Free
Monday is something to really savour. Another supporter is Al Gore who
stated that initiatives like Meat Free Monday ‚represent a
responsible and welcome component of a comprehensive strategy for
reducing global warming pollution and simultaneously improving human
health." Even a number of schools have already done this in the
UK with great success.

The town of Ghent in Belgium has a meat free day and, amazingly,
Sao Paulo has one even though Brazil is a large exporter of meat. In
Sweden, the government is now labeling food to give the consumer the
opportunity to understand the dangers of indiscriminate food
consumption and there are many more examples appearing online. The
point is that so many people these days are looking for ways to
‚do their bit‚ for the environment. We recycle - something
we never would have dreamt of doing in the past. Many people now drive
hybrid cars but most people understand that we cannot leave this
important issue to the politicians of the world. Recently, at the
Copenhagen Conference for Climate Change, this issue was not even on
the agenda and so I believe it is once again left to us, the people,
to do it ourselves. It is amazingly easy to take one day in your week,
Monday or any other day, and not eat meat.

When you think about it, there are so many great alternatives, for
instance, in Italian cooking, so many of the dishes are vegetarian
already and Thai and Chinese cuisine are the same. All it means is
that you have to think a bit about what you'll eat that day but, in
actual fact, far from being a chore, it's a fun challenge. Having been
vegetarians for over 30 years, my family and I find it very simple and
in fact, tasty and most enjoyable. So there it is! Next Monday - don't
eat meat and do your bit to save this beautiful planet of ours. For
more information, ideas and lots of meat free recipes, go to the
official Meat Free Monday website Rock on ya'll! Paul

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