We love Meatless Monday – and so do millions of Americans. This campaign is celebrated far and wide, in cities from coast to coast and across the globe, as a simple and fun way to help protect our health, the environment, and animals.
Did you know Meatless Monday was first initiated by the US government during World War I? It was promoted as a way to ration war-time food supplies and more than 13 million families pledged to participate. It was relaunched by President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, and President Harry Truman continued the campaign post-war to help provide more food to war-torn Europe.
Then, in 2003, health advocate Sid Lerner joined with the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to relaunch the campaign with the intention of improving public health.
Today, several US cities have approved Meatless Monday resolutions or proclamations, including Washington, DC, Los Angeles CA, South Miami, FL, Montgomery County, MD, Boone, IL, Cleveland, OH, San Jose, CA, San Francisco, CA, and Philadelphia, PA.
Meatless Monday is also endorsed by many public school systems, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the second largest in the nation. The Philadelphia Public School District recently followed suit, introducing weekly “Lean & Green” days to promote healthier, meat-free options, and South San Francisco Unified School District, Westbrook Public Schools (CT), and Winchendon Public Schools (MA) all recently launched Meatless Monday programs as well.
But it’s not just legislators and educators getting behind this movement — celebrities are joining the fun too! Oprah Winfrey, Sir Paul McCartney, Al Gore, Denise Richards, Russell Simmons, James Cameron, Simon Cowell, Gwyneth Paltrow, and more support this meat-free effort.
Dedicating at least one day a week to meat-free eating is also celebrated in 34 countries. In 2009, Ghent, Belgium became the first city to adopt Veggie Day and soon after Bremen, Germany introduced a“Thursday Veggie Day” campaign. Germany’s Green Party even added a “Veggie Day” component as part of its official party platform. Vancouver recently became the first Canadian city to endorse Meatless Mondays.
Why is Meatless Monday taking the world by storm? Because this popular campaign – which one in 5 Americans participates in – has a far-reaching impact on our health, the planet, and animals. Simply by choosing vegetarian foods just one day a week, an individual can:
- Do more for the planet than by switching to a totally local diet
- Reduce his or her carbon footprint by over 8 lbs per day, as much as not driving for two days
- Save 1/2 a gallon of gasoline per day
- Reduce his or her saturated fat intake by 15% (per meatless meal)
- Reduce his or her risk of breast, colon, prostate, kidney, and pancreatic cancer
- Save 28 land animals and 175 aquatic animals per year