Which Is Better for the Environment: Fast Mondays or #NoRedOctober?
As a ten-year-old vegetarian, I support almost any initiative that can reduce American dependence on animal products. And while my choice was primarily from an animal welfare perspective, I also recognize that exposure to livestock, and in particular red meat, affects our environment.
Popular Science editor-in-chief Joe Brown writes in his post this week: “Livestock are responsible for 12 percent of the greenhouse gases that help warm our planet […] And red meat is the worst offenders: cows, in particular, are highly ineffective. When grass is turned into food for humans, 1 percent of their food is converted into calories that we can consume, which is less than one tenth of the turnover rate of chicken, so growing them requires a lot of water and energy. The more we eat, the more farmers need to breed. ”
(Note: Since we love passing on tidbits of interesting information, it’s worth sharing that while the popular thought blames cow farting for rising methane levels that ruin our atmosphere, cow belching actually plays a major, and probably major, role in this issue. These are the ways of handling their manure.)
In an effort to cut red meat consumption from the 54 pounds of beef the average American eats a year, PopSci has launched a new #NoRedOctober campaign.
Of course, another PopSci writer, Sophie Bushwick, argues in today’s post that meat-eater Americans can already get a better hold of this: Meatless Mondays . Based on her numbers, which show that the average American eats 77 pounds of beef each year, the difference between quitting red meat for a month and choosing the non-meat option every Monday (except weekends) is huge: “No matter how many cows or pounds of beef you avoiding #NoRedOctober, she writes, “you’ll save 61 percent more animals or meat by choosing Meat Free Mondays instead.”
And of course, we are all striving for more influence (and since October is alsoVegetarian Awareness Month , can I add this $ 1,000 Go Meat Free contest to the various options?). But the bottom line is that when it comes to changing habits, you, not statistics, come first. Whether you are attracted to the daily, weekly, or monthly process (or a one-time task), the one you actually stick to will have the most impact.