Maybe you’ve heard of a movement called “Meatless Mondays” that’s trying to get people to give up meat one day a week, and you’re wondering why. Why should you give up meat for a day? What’s the pay-off? Maybe you’re thinking that if you want to do something good for your health, you’ll make sure to eat fish once a week. Isn’t that enough?
Maybe it is for you, but Meatless Monday isn’t just about you and improving your eating habits or making you a healthier person. Certainly, that’s a goal, but there’s a bigger picture at work here and it’s one that’s close to The Brown Bag’s heart. Giving up meat one day a week is really good for the Earth, too.
The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that roughly one-fifth of the world’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions are produced by the meat industry. Take this statistic from the Environmental Working Group’s Meat-Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health: “If your four-person family skips steak 1 day a week [for a year], it’s like taking your car off the road for almost 3 months.” Did you know that beef produces twice the emissions of pork, four times as much as chicken, and 13 times as much as vegetable proteins like beans, lentils, and tofu? What’s even more eye opening: Americans throw away roughly 20% of what we produce, so all of those emissions are really for nothing after all. That’s kind of sad.
And what about water? Do you know how much water livestock consumes everyday? We didn’t either, but according to www.meatlessmonday.com, 1800 to 2500 gallons of water are used for one pound of beef. A large portion of the country has been in a drought this summer; maybe this Monday you could help out by saying no to that cheese burger and eating a salad or other vegetarian option instead.
What else can you do? Look for meat from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals from farmers who raise their livestock humanely and sustainably. Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season where you live, and eat local food that doesn’t have to be shipped to you from across the world but just from across town or right outside the city. That’s what Brown Bag does. Whenever we can, we choose locally sourced products for our restaurants. We also use wind power to run our stores and we always purchase Energy Star equipment. We have recycling stations in all of our locations, and we use packaging that is biodegradable and compostable. At The Brown Bag, we’re trying to do our part; it’s important to us and we hope it’s important to you.
The most immediate effects of going meatless once a week are really on you, your health, your life on Earth. We’re not going to go into all the reasons you should limit your intake of red meat, eat more veggies, etc. You know that already. Our point is that we can all do a little something to help the world and ourselves. Maybe it’s just one day a week. Maybe you’ll like your new veggie dishes so much, you’ll decide to have your own Meatless Wednesdays and Fridays, too. Or maybe you’ll feel a little better about walking into a restaurant or grocery store and knowing that your mindfulness has added a little more green to the world. Whatever the reason, think about giving Meatless Mondays a try. We’ll help. Come into The Brown Bag and ask about vegetarian options; we’ll steer you in delicious directions—promise.
Consider bringing healthy options for you and the Earth to your community. The Brown Bag is franchising! Check out our franchising pages at https://brownbagonline.com/franchise/ for more information.