The Meatless Monday food phenomenon

Put your hand up if you've heard of Meatless Monday? No? That's OK, not many people in Australia are aware of the movement that was launched here in December 2009.

The Meatless Monday movement began in the USA in 2003 in attempt to improve health and reduce manmade green house gas emissions that are produced by the meat industry. It is a concept rehashed by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health that originated during World War I and II when the USA introduced the idea of going 'meatless' one day a week as a form of rationing. The modern version aims to reduce meat consumption by 15% by encouraging people to go veggie once a week. Other countries involved are Canada, Netherlands, Japan, UK and Australia to name a few.

In the USA many celebrities such as Gwenyth Paltrow, Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz back the concept; as well as restaurants, school and hospital cafeterias and various large corporations such as Puma. Sir Paul McCartney and Coldplay's Chris Martin launched Meat Free Mondays in the UK in June 2009 and it is sponsored by the Goodlife vegetarian food company.

The Australian version of Meatless Monday seems to be flying under the radar. The celebs listed on the Aussie website are all international stars and no local identities seem to have put their name to the movement. Would it make a difference if they did? If for example our Kylie launched Meatless Mondays in Melbourne surely there would be loads of press coverage and the publicity priceless?

It's easy to be cynical about the power of modern celebrity and the motivations of these 'stars' to publicly support such a movement (or charity or social enterprise). But there is no denying that a big name draws attention and without the mass publicity they can generate it is hard for organisations to have their cause recognised in the public domain.

But it's also easy to underestimate the power of one. If you believe in something how do you show your support? Do you talk about it, do you post a link on your Facebook page, do you wear the t-shirt or put a sticker on your car? Do you care enough to shout it from the rooftops or do you think that one voice, your voice isn't loud enough to be heard? Just because you aren't recognised as someone 'important' when you walk down the street doesn't mean that you can't make a difference. Change has to start somewhere, so why not with you? It's easy!

The internet has made the idea of a global village a reality, so it's a good place start. If you have time to forward an email of a piano playing cat, then why not forward a link to something you feel strongly about? You could start right now! You could forward a link to this post or take someone to lunch down at the STREAT cart or invite some friends around next Monday night and cook up a vegetarian feast...the possibilities are endless. As Ghandi said "We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”  

So what do you want to change?


 Find more information about Meatless Monday here.

 And here is a recipe to get you started for Meatless Monday.