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Obama Urged to Bring Back National Meatless Program
Date:4/15/2009

Environmental and public health experts call for Americans to go "Meatless" on Mondays

NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With World Health Day and Earth Day both in April, health and environmental advocates are calling on President Obama to take a page from history and proclaim national "meatless" days, as three of his predecessors in office have done. Watch the Meatless Monday video here.

Presidents Wilson, Truman and Roosevelt all instituted national meatless days in order to divert food to troops overseas and alleviate worldwide food shortages. Today, a growing body of experts say that moderate reductions in meat consumption will mitigate climate change, lessen fossil fuel dependence, conserve fresh water and help reduce the chronic preventable conditions that today kill 70 percent of all Americans --cancer, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Robert Lawrence, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health says, "With the President's notable embrace of healthy food and strong support for environmentally sound policies, reintroducing 'Meatless Mondays' at the White House will demonstrate a great way for Americans to improve their health, while lightening our nation's carbon foot-print."

Meatless Monday envisions meatless menus and recipes issuing from the White House every Monday, inspiring Americans to cook healthier meals, and the administration providing international leadership by directing the White House Chef to plan and prepare meat-free banquets and state dinners.

At December's international summit on global warming in Poznan, Poland, United Nations emissaries cited meat production as a primary source of greenhouse gas. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has called eating less meat "one of the most important personal choices we can make to address climate change."

"When we think about the climate crisis, we tend to think about Big Oil or dirty coal-fired power plants," says Anna Lappe, author of Taking a Bite out of Climate Change. "Meanwhile, the global food system is responsible for as much as one-third of our total greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock alone contributes more to the global warming effect than emissions from the world's transportation."

Eating less meat also makes economic sense. More and more people are finding that forgoing meat for just a few meals each week can yield significant savings.

Sustainable Table's Regina Weiss says, "Asking Americans to forgo meat just one day a week will attract strong support from pediatricians and parents, economists and environmentalists, farmers and foodies alike."

Marion Nestle, nutritionist, advocate and author of the prizewinning Food Politics and What to Eat, says, "This is a great opportunity to expand our vegetable repertoire and do good things for health and for the planet."

Peggy Neu, President of Meatless Monday, says, "Looking back to a period when millions of Americans made simple sacrifices for the greater good, President Obama can urge Americans to cut out meat, just one day a week. It's easy to do and can have huge benefits for our health and the health of our planet."


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