World’s first meatless lunch to be held in PHBy Tessa R. Salazar
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It’s going to be more fun to eat no meat in the Philippines. If our “mates” in Sydney know how to turn their lights off for one hour to save precious energy, then Filipinos can just as well turn off their appetites for meat for one meal to delay or even prevent climate change. Through this, they can save their good health, and the lives of fellow creatures as well.
That’s how Meatless Monday Philippines founding chair Custer Deocaris, a neuroscientist and a DoST (Department of Science and Technology) balik scientist, optimistically envisions the group’s plan to hold the first-ever World Meatless Lunch in the Philippines.
First to admit
“Deocaris is the first to admit, though, that a meatless lunch exhorting millions of people to forego eating all forms of animal products [pork, beef, carabeef, poultry, fish and seafoods] would involve more personal and political will than just deciding to flick a light switch off, as what was accomplished by Sydney, Australia in the first Earth Hour years ago.”
The Luntiang Lunes (Meatless Monday Philippines) is now working on a partnership with UK’s Meatfree Monday movement headed by Paul and Stella McCartney for the World Meatless Lunch project. The campaign’s website will be launched on September10.
However, should it become successful, Deocaris told the Inquirer that this event would spark a global move toward a dietary revolution where no meat would be present at any mealtime, anywhere on the planet.
Thus, Deocaris stressed that the future of a meatless society hinges on this one “all-important event” that is planned to take place on October 1 during lunch.
This event coincides with the World Vegetarian Day to raise awareness on healthy, compassionate and Earth-friendly diets. This year’s theme has been determined as “Fight Climate Change, One Plate at a Time!”
“Today, a staggering 45 percent of the Earth’s land area and more than 70 percent of the Amazon forest have been cleared for raising livestock and growing crops to feed them,” he said.
“Analyzing for the greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions contributed by such land use, deforestation and the lifecycle of meat products, in a 2009 publication by World Watch Magazine ‘Livestock and Climate Change,’ authors Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang estimated that meat contributes to 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions,” Deocaris said.
Currently on second reading, the “Meatless Monday Bill” was filed in Congress via the committee on environment’s Representative Teddy Casiño.
A position paper by the Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines signed by its president Celeste C. Tanchoco, RND, DrPH on July 26 stated the association’s support to the Meatless Monday Motivational Campaign. It cited that “House Bill 6311, should it be passed into law, will aid in the campaign to control greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change and environmental degradation, as well as lessen the risks to noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, cancer and obesity.”
Hope vs climate change
“Our planet is now headed for an irreversible climate change if nations fail to drastically stabilize GHG emissions within the next five years,” Deocaris said. He added that by 2050, global temperatures would have risen to up to four degrees Celsius, unleashing catastrophic climate change of magnitudes that would affect every single person on this planet.
While we need to plant more trees and invest in “green technologies,” experts say that replacing at least a quarter of meat with healthy plant-based alternatives is the only practical way to reduce excess GHGs to a safer level within the next five years.
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