Petition: Meat Free Monday in the United States of America (USA)

Monday, October 26, 2009
at 12:37 AM


Background (Preamble):
Historically, no nation has emitted more global warming pollution than the United States. From 1960-2005, the U.S. emitted 213,608 MtCO2, 26% of total global emissions. The U.S. also exceeded almost every other nation in per capita emissions.

This petition calls for United States officials to take immediate action by adopting “Meat Free Mondays” and promoting the many health and environmental benefits of the pure vegetarian (vegan) lifestyle to the general public.


LIVESTOCK’S ROLE IN GLOBAL WARMING IS HUGE

According to a 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations (FAO), entitled “Livestock's Long Shadow,” livestock production causes 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, including nine percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, 37 percent of methane, and 65 percent of nitrous oxide which is 296 times more potent than CO2 as a global warming gas. According to Dr. Kirk Smith, a member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and professor at the University of California-Berkeley, methane is 100 times more potent than CO2 within 5 years of being emitted.

Scientists across the globe have recognized that climate change is happening so fast that human civilization itself is under threat if we don’t act within the next few years to significantly reverse the trend of global warming. At the same time, researchers have also realized that although CO2 is the most prevalent gas by weight, even if we were to achieve a zero carbon economy today, the earth would continue to warm for hundreds if not thousands of years.

For this reason, if we want to preserve the planet for our children’s generation, we need to reduce those gases and aerosols causing the greatest effect on global warming in the short term, thus giving us time to develop CO2 reduction technologies that can be commercially deployed.


RAPID PLANETARY COOLING SOLUTIONS:

In March 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that in order to achieve rapid cooling in the short term, we need to reduce methane, ozone (the second most prevalent gas after methane), and black carbon. Reducing the consumption of animal products is the single fastest way to reduce these emissions.


• Methane: Livestock are the single largest source of human-caused methane in the US and on the planet, and 2/3 of it dissipates from the atmosphere in about 10 years. Note also that the IPCC estimated that even if we were to change the feed of animals and capture methane from manure lagoons, by 2030 we would only reduce 9 percent of the methane from agriculture, so these methods are not viable options for seriously reducing emissions rapidly.
• Ozone, the third most prevalent gas after methane, and CO2, depends upon methane as a building block. Because it dissipates out of the atmosphere in a few hours or days, as soon as we reduce breeding of livestock and the numbers of these animals decreases due to lower demand, we will see planetary cooling within hours or days.
• Black carbon is 800 times more potent than CO2, and NASA scientists have begun to realize that black carbon plays a role in the melting of the Arctic and Antarctic. Brazilian scientists measuring black carbon in Antarctica found greater levels of black carbon than NASA estimated, and estimated 70 percent of it came from South America, where the single largest source of black carbon is the burning of the rainforests to create crops and grazing for livestock. Livestock are responsible for over 80% of Amazon destruction in Brazil.


END WORLD HUNGER
No one wants to see a child go hungry. They shouldn't have to, because there is plenty enough to go around. If you want to stop 1 billion people from going hungry each day, if you want to stop the needless deaths taking place every 5 seconds due to starvation then a vegan lifestyle is the solution to solve these dire diet driven situations due to the inefficient use of resources directed towards animal agriculture. Grain currently fed to livestock is enough to feed 2 billion people. According to the report by Compassion in World Farming, "[c]rops that could be used to feed the hungry are instead being used to fatten animals raised for food." It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of edible animal flesh. Clearly, what we eat does affect the rest of the world and we are partly responsible for the lack of resources due to our unnecessary consumption of meat.

MEAT REDUCTION AROUND THE GLOBE

Ghent, Belgium has shown leadership and recognized the importance of promoting vegetarianism as a solution to addressing climate change and reducing its carbon footprint by asking its citizens to go meatless one day a week.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8046970.stm

Other countries and institutions are also recognizing the need to promote pure vegetarianism (veganism). The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) will be cutting meat (and dairy) from the menus of hospitals across the UK in an effort to cut costs and carbon. Its one part of the NHS hospitals strategy to reduce carbon emissions throughout the hospital system.

Following Paul McCartney's Meat Free Monday mission in the UK, Israeli restaurants are also participating in going veggie for at least one day a week.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/5621148/Paul-McCartneys-Meat-Free-Monday-mission.html
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3736884,00.html


VEGAN RESTAURANTS ARE BOOMING DUE TO STRONG DEMAND

Many people have become aware of the health promoting effects of a plant-based diet, and want to reduce their consumption of animal products but 1) government subsidies make meat and dairy cheaper and 2) restaurants do not offer them enough vegan options to delight their palate. Their desire, however, is reflected in the growth of vegan restaurants and vegan options in food service.

In spite of the economic downturn, Restaurant & Institution Magazine has noted in several articles in the last year that vegan restaurants are booming.


Cruzer Pizza in Los Angeles demonstrated this dramatically in May 2009 when they added vegan cheese and veggie meats as pizza toppings and their sales went up by 63 percent in one month.

Animal agriculture is having detrimental impacts on the health of the environment as well as on human health; thus reducing our consumption of this carbon and methane intensive product is an effective solution to halt climate change.


See further resources & references below the petition, such as:
Food Inc. - In Theaters NOW across the nation. http://www.foodincmovie.com/
Lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, the USDA and FDA.

Please sign this petition and forward it to your friends and family.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-monday-in-the-usa.html 


Others: 
Indonesia:
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-friday-in-indonesia.html

Taiwan - Started: July 15, 2009
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-monday-taiwan.html

Australia
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-monday-in-australia.html

Israel
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-monday-in-israel.html

Latin America
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-monday-in-latin-america.html

Canada
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meatfreemondaycanada.html

United Kingdom & European Union
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-mondays-in-the-united-kingdom.html

Singapore
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-monday-in-singapore.html

Japan
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-mondays-in-japan/sign.html

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