Meatless Monday – Pamela Anderson Gives Us Another Reason To Eat Vegetarian

Meatless Monday is a campaign to increase people’s health and decrease their carbon footprint at the same time.  Canadian-born celebrity Pamela Anderson recently posed for a PETA ad that was controversial enough to be refused a permit for a public unveiling in Montreal last week. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ad shows the actress in a bikini with her body parts labelled as “round,” “rump” and “shoulder.” “All animals have the same parts,” the ad says.

So, if combating climate change isn’t a good enough reason for you to eat meatless today, maybe this image of Pamela Anderson will inspire you!

All Animals Have the Same Parts. Pamela Anderson's controversial ad for PETA
For one of our family’s favourite – and very easy to make – meatless meals, go to Broccoli Garlic Pasta recipe on the Comfort Food for Uneasy Times page. Or enjoy a hearty meatless taco salad, another easy and tasty family favourite.
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The Joys Of Eating Sustainably

This weekend I attended a supper that featured locally and sustainably grown food, part of a larger “Growing Local” conference. The food was delicious, the entertainment good, and the conversations interesting. It turns out there is a strong connection between the food that we eat and the production of climate-changing pollution. How so, you ask? Here are a few statistics that demonstrate how agriculture emits carbon dioxide through transportation, fertilizer production, and other means  (from

Deforestation (partly to clear land for agriculture) is responsible for 13% of climate change through the release of stored carbon dioxide. Methane causes 17.3% of climate change due to livestock digestion, animal manure, rice paddies, dams, fossil fuel extraction, and landfills. Nitrous Oxide (N2O) accounts for 5.4% mostly due to fertilizers.

Livestock generate more greenhouse gas emissions, in CO2 equivalent, than transportation and it’s also a major source of land and water degradation.

The food that North Americans eat now takes far more energy to get our table that the energy we get from eating it. Brian Halweil, author of Home Grown: The Case for Local Food in a Global Market points out:

A head of lettuce grown in the Salinas Valley of California and shipped nearly 3,000 miles to Washington, D.C., requires about 36 times as much fossil fuel energy in transport as it provides in food energy when it arrives.

The winners in this kind of unsustainable, energy-intensive food system aren’t local farmers or consumers, it turns out. Halweil goes on to say:

The big winners are agribusiness monopolies that ship, trade, and process food. Agricultural policies, including the new Farm Bill, tend to favor factory farms, giant supermarkets, and long-distance trade, and cheap, subsidized fossil fuels encourage long-distance shipping. The big losers are the world’s poor.

And, a new study from the University of Arizona shows, that in the United States at least, 40% of the food produced and shipped in that energy-intensive way ends up being thrown out without even being eaten. So it turns out we, the consumer, can save money and make a difference in the production of greenhouse gases just buy making sure we eat our leftovers.  Buying less junk food and more food that requires little packaging, like fresh fruits and vegetables, also decreases our carbon footprint – not to mention being better for our overall health and our waistlines!

Fighting global warming can start right in our own kitchens, by changing what we put on our forks everyday.  Today is Monday, so in the spirit of making a difference, consider joining the “Meatless Monday” movement. For more information as well as recipes, click here. For some of our family’s favourite vegetarian dishes, click here.

For more information on this topic, check out these links:

Local Food Plus (Canada)

Toronto Vegetarian Association: Climate Change: The Inconvenient Truth About What We Eat

The 100 Mile Diet: Why Eat Local

Organic Consumers Association:Americans Are Tossing $100 Billion of Food A Year

WorldWatch Institute: Globetrotting Food Will Travel Further Than Ever This Thanksgiving

FAO Institute: Livestock a Major Threat to the Environment