Norwegian army goes vegetarian for ‘Meatless Monday’

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Norway will soon be extending Meatless Monday to its military bases, including overseas facilities, as the country aims to combat the military’s carbon footprint.

According to The Australian, Norway is one of Europe’s richest countries and top hydrocarbon exporters. The arm said that adopting Meatless Monday was one step to fight against global warming.

"It is a step to protect our climate," army spokesman Eystein Kvarving said. "The idea is to serve food that is respectful of the environment. It is not about saving money. It is about being more concerned for our climate, more ecologically friendly and also healthier."

Read, “Tofu tactics at the fore in Norwegian army's carbon fight.”

The UK-based Independent reports that the new dietary regime has been trialed at some of Norway’s larger bases. Military bosses hope to reduce their average consumption by 150 tons annually.  Read more here.

Emily Meredith, Communications Director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, points that the Meatless Monday campaign originally started to conserve meat for the military, who need substancial protein to sustain the high energy needs required by the phsyically-demanding jobs.

"Now, the [Meatless Monday] campaign has convinced the Norwegian military that it’s beneficial both for the health of the environment and their person to give up meat. In fact, the opposite is true—even the USDA recommends consuming a serving of lean, animal protein with every meal to promote growth development, heart health and overall well-being," she added.

Meredith pointed, "In surveying schools who participated in the campaign and no longer do—school nutritionists noticed a lot of food waste and a marked decline in children’s energy level on Mondays. I think the Norwegian army doctors and nurses will notice similar negative effects and will be reversing their—arguably misinformed decision to participate—very quickly, just like many schools, hospitals and restaurants have done here in the U.S."

Meatless Monday also fails to live up to its environmentalist reputation.

"According to a recent study by Dr. Jude Capper, if everyone in the entire United States gave up meat completely on Mondays, that would only reduce the carbon footprint of livestock production less than 1/3 of one percent!" Emily Meredith with the Animal Ag Alliance said in an email to Dairy Herd Network. "I think we can all agree there’s a lot more effective ways to reduce your environmental impact than subscribing to the Meatless Monday campaign."

Frank Mitloehner, associate professor and air quality specialist at the University of California-Davis, agrees. Mitloehner said in an August edition of "Meat Mythcrusher" from the American Meat Institute that all activities are are involved in, including eating or driving, have an impoact on our carbon footprint.

“Your transportation choices and your heating cooling choices have your greatest impact on the carbon footprint, there’s no doubt about that. Your food choices also have an impact on the carbon footprint, but it’s relatively minor compared to the others,” Mitloehner said.

Watch Mitloehner’s interview here.

 



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