A way to help save the planet

2010-09-14 00:00

GO vegetarian for 24 hours every week — it is the easiest way for every South African to make a difference to the planet.

Yesterday was the official launch of the global Meat Free Mondays campaign, which urges all South Africans to pledge their support and make a difference by not eating meat, fish or chicken every Monday.

Meat Free Monday is an environmental campaign to raise awareness of the climate-changing impact of meat production and consumption and the detrimental impact that meat production has on the planet. Livestock farming is the most significant contributor to today’s most serious environmental problems. Animal agriculture contributes significantly to the destruction of tropical rainforests, soil erosion, dwindling reserves of fresh water, land, fuel and other resources.

Eating less meat will also decrease the likelihood of heart attacks and high blood pressure.

“I have dedicated my life to protecting animals, and the planet. I have pledged my support and ask that all South Africans dedicate only one day a week to not eating any meat products. This is the easiest way to make a huge difference to animals and the environment,” says Steve Smit from Animal Rights Africa.

Other organisations supporting Meat Free Mondays in South Africa include Beauty Without Cruelty, Animal Anti-Cruelty League, SA Vegan Society, and Fry’s Vegetarian Foods.

Meat Free Mondays is backed globally by celebrities including Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sheryl Crow and Paul McCartney and local celebrity support is growing.

Go to www.supportmfm.co.za or sms the letters MFM and your name and e-mail address to 34007. Sms charged at R2 per SMS.

All those who pledge their support for Meat Free Mondays will receive a personalised pledge certificate and stand a chance of winning a seven- night stay for two at the five-star, Big 5 Nambiti Plains Eco Lodge in Kwa­Zulu-Natal. — Supplied.


STATISTICS around the effect that livestock production has on the planet are staggering:

• At least half of all the greenhouse gases are due to livestock production.

• If all Americans ate no meat, chicken or fish for just one day a week, this would result in the same carbon savings as taking 19,2 million cars off the road in the U.S. for an entire year, or save emissions equivalent to 46 million return flights from New York to Los Angeles.

• It requires 500 times as much land to produce one kilogram of beef as it does to produce one kilogram of vegetables

• It takes 250 litres of water to produce one kilogram of wheat, and 25 000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of meat.

•Cows, pigs and sheep bred for human consumption discharge millions of tons of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Livestock accounts for about 18% of greenhouse gases, more than all the world’s transportation systems.

• If every South African goes meat free one day a week, 11  00 cattle, two million chickens, 10 000 pigs and 22 300 sheep will be saved from slaughter weekly.

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