This is my favorite time of the year--plants are blooming, baby animals are roaming, the weather is warmer, it is my birthday month, and we celebrate Earth Day! This year is extra special because it is the 50th Earth Day celebration. That means 50 years of education. 50 years of fostering love and appreciation for the planet. 50 years of making an impact on people around the world.
Like anything, Earth Day has grown and evolved through time. It started in 1970 with discussions about pollution and its negative impacts on human health. It has gone on to expand globally, discussing issues like climate change, species extinction, and renewable energy.
This year, Earth Day is focusing on all actions that mitigate climate change--primarily our food choices. Adopting a plant-based diet is one of the most impactful actions you can take to help slow climate change. Why plant-based, you ask? Eating a diet primarily of plants means your food not only sequesters carbon (takes it out of the air), it produces less methane (more dangerous and potent than CO2). Cows and other ruminant animals collectively produce more GHG’s (methane included) than the entire transportation sector. By cutting your meat and dairy input, you can reduce your climate footprint by nearly 73%! In addition to reduction of GHG’s, plant-based diets reduce the amount of land used to grow food, less water use, and the ability to feed more people with the resources we already have. This all makes a critical impact on climate change.
In an effort to help institutions and organizations expand their sustainability initiatives, FFAC runs various campaigns offering support to include vegan food in these programs. Green Monday is a program that works to include more plant-based food options in their cafeterias, events, and catering. To date, Green Monday has worked with over 100 different organizations, launching dozens of campaigns around the country. By including more plant-based meals, even just one day a week, these organizations have collectively saved 7,948,041 gallons of water; 216,726 square feet of forest; 289,060 pounds of grain; and 144,530 pounds of CO2.
This Earth Day, the most important thing you can do is move plant-forward. Do it for your health, the animals, and the environment. To expand the impact, bring Green Mondays to your school, workplace, faith community, or local organization by launching a team now!
To learn more, check out our citations for resources on every topic!
Hannah Kinder is the FFAC Director of Institutional Campaigns and Green Monday Program Coordinator.