Yeah, you love meat. In countless cultures, both in the U.S. and abroad, eating meat is aspirational—a sign of the good life. But as more of the earth’s residents choose to eat meat, we imperil the planet. Getting beef, lamb and chicken on your plate uses and pollutes billions of gallons of water in the production chain and emits lots of methane gas (via, yes, cow and sheep farts) into the atmosphere—a gas that is causing the earth’s atmosphere to heat up. The last time we checked, Americans eat an average of 222 pounds of meat annually. By downing tons of meat every day of the week, you may as well be driving a Hummer.
The collective exercise of taking a day off from meat was used in the past by Presidents Wilson, Truman and Roosevelt, in times of war. Well, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is predicting we’ve reached a tipping point for radical, storm-inducing temperature increases, and the population is set to hit 9 billion by 2050—so consider this wartime, too. Try a Meatless Monday—your dinner companions might grumble at first, but there is plenty of room to experiment without meat. In a pinch, use Bryant Terry’s delicious new cookbook to get you going on a healthful, less expensive, more sustainable and equally tasty diet—one day a week.
Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.