Green Monday for practical vegetarianism

Go here and read up about the idea of Green Monday (like Meatless Monday with a more positive name). I really wanted to link to the article I read in The Globe and Mail’s Life &Arts section for Wednesday, July 5, 2017, but they don’t even put truncated versions of their newspaper articles on their website. Way to go, oldstream media!

Anyhoo, the gist of the movement and the article is the promotion of an idea: don’t eat meat one day out of the week. It’s not a new idea, but it is catching on in a big way in Hong Kong – apparently, the highest meat and fish consumers per capita, worldwide. If that’s not a strong message to the rest of us, I don’t know what is.

The best part of this idea is that it’s low commitment but habit-forming, like recycling. Whomever might be reading this may not recall a time before the ubiquity of blue boxes and recycling bins attached to every garbage can. I remember that the idea of recycling was introduced to me at school, perhaps second grade-ish, and students were encouraged to bring the idea home and talk about it with our parents. Convincing my mum to get a blue box for our house was more effort than I thought it would be, but if you ask her now, she doesn’t remember the struggle – it’s as though the blue box always was.

That’s kind of how something like Green Monday works. At first, it seems like so much effort, and everyone involved questions why they would even want to do such a thing in the first place. The old, ‘I’m just one person, how could I make a difference?’ refrain is sung in chorus. Then, the rebellion is quelled long enough to just try the gosh-darn thing already. You all go out for vegetarian sushi or something.

After a few weeks of home-made meatless chili or vegetable stew, someone in the house says they heard about a new cuisine or restaurant or something, and maybe the whole family could try it next Monday. Now, it’s a game of ‘who can find the new thing?’ You’re challenging each other’s creativity and tastes. You find yourselves a year later on well into the habit; in five years, it’s just the way you live.

Another great aspect to this tiny adjustment is that you don’t really need to have a reason for it – at least, not some grandiose, world-saving, ethical-treatment-of-animals kind of reason. It’s the kind of act that can be taken on purely for the challenge, or just for the heck of it. And regardless of why you’re doing it, it still achieves the same end.

Looking for a reason to try going Green Monday and coming up short? Here’s a handy list of justifications you can use:

  • trim the grocery budget by a few dollars per week
  • save some time in the kitchen by going ready-made or going out
  • reduce waste by making it a package-free meal, too; use reusable cloth bags to bring veggies home, and try to make a meal using only veg with no rubber bands, ties or wrapping.
  • don’t want to cook vegetarian and have no money to go out? Fast instead*!
  • it’s a reason to eat cereal for supper

*Provided you are in relatively good health and don’t have a metabolic condition that precludes fasting. When in doubt, consult your physician.