Having one meat-free day a week is a meaningful change that everyone can make, that goes to the heart of several important political, environmental and ethical issues all at once. It not only addresses pollution, but better health, the ethical treatment of animals, global hunger, and community and political activism.
It takes a great deal of water to grow grain for livestock, and a great deal of energy to transport it. After eating it, sheep and cows give off a lot of methane, a much more powerful climate-changing gas than CO2.
Too much meat is not good for us: it clogs our arteries, and helps make us fat. Governments in the wealthier countries are publishing guidelines suggesting people eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and a lot less red meat. Celebrities offer similar calls: Paul McCartney and his family are backing their Meat Free Monday campaign.
In February 2011, the UK Government announced new health guidelines recommending that a balanced diet should contain no more than 1lb of red meat a week (about one steak and two pork chops). Meanwhile, the Food Standards Agency suggests that about 15% of our diet should come from protein-rich foods, which aside from meat and dairy products can include tofu, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and fish.