Going Meatless Has Gone Global

August 17th, 2009

around the world with Meatless Monday!The movement we began in 2003 is spreading around the globe! From cities in Europe, and religious institutions in Asia, to city school systems right here in the U.S., people are cutting back on meat one day a week to improve their health and the health of the planet. It’s an extremely exciting time as we wonder what city, which celebrity, which organization will be next to go meatless. Have you taken the Meatless Monday pledge? In association with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and twenty-eight other leading universities, Meatless Monday was launched in 2003 to revive the American tradition of going meatles on Monday. We quickly developed a loyal base of support among nutrition and health experts, as well as the American public at large. It took the efforts of Sir Paul McCartney, however, to truly make the movement global. In June of this year, inspired by our campaign, Sir Paul and his daughters Stella and Mary launched Meat Free Monday in the U.K. He came to the meatless table with a broad coalition of celebrities and international organizations – the movement was spreading! Almost instantly, half way around the world, Rajan Zed, respected Hindu statesmen and president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, threw his full support behind Sir Paul’s initiative. He cited key health, environmental and ethical reasons, and called on the nearly one billion Hindus worldwide to support our joint efforts. Back in Europe, the city of Ghent, Belgium became the first city in the world to go meatless one day a week. VeggieDag has been instituted by its city council, whereby restaurants, school, hospitals and city offices provide meatless options to help reduce climate. It’s been a huge success so far, and it looks like Hasselt, Belgium will be the next European city to go meatless. Restaurants are catching on in Israel as well, as dozen of the country’s finest eateries have teamed up with "On the Table’ food magazine to institute Vegetarian Mondays. The goal is to create high cuisine that supports the global efforts to save the environment. Here in America, the world’s most successful blog, Huffington Post, has taken up the Monday mantra. It has started its own weekly Meatless Monday feature, boasting an article and recipe created by nationally syndicated columnist Edgy Veggy. On a citywide level, Baltimore has joined the movement, as its education board has decided every school lunch menu should offer meatless options starting this fall. What does the future hold? We’ve heard that Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, former head of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and author of the hugely influential report, "Livestock’s Long Shadow,’ is planning to petition the European Parliament to encourage other European cities to go meatless. In America the question is: who will be the first city stateside to go meatless? If you’re asking yourself, what can you do to help the cause? Start out by taking the Meatless Monday pledge. Then get your own community involved – tell yor friends, family, school or office mates and fellow church or club members to do the same. Together we can transform the world one Monday at a time!