New York City Adopts ‘Meatless Mondays’ in All Public Schools

Every public school child in New York City will be eating vegetarian on Mondays, beginning in the 2019-20 school year. That’s the exciting announcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The mayor’s office announced the city’s official adoption of Meatless Mondays on March 11.

“Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers’ health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” de Blasio said in a press release. “We’re expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.”

Watch the announcement here:

New York City is the largest school district in the United States. And the new Meatless Mondays program will feed a vegetarian breakfast and lunch to roughly 1.1 million kids.

Of course, New York City didn’t just wave a magic wand and decide this was the right thing to do. It first conducted a pilot program in spring 2018, implementing Meatless Mondays at 15 schools in Brooklyn. The program was so popular the city decided all of its public schools will take part beginning this fall.

“Reducing our appetite for meat is one of the single biggest ways individuals can reduce their environmental impact on our planet,” said Mark Chambers, director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Meatless Mondays will introduce hundreds of thousands of young New Yorkers to the idea that small changes in their diet can create larger changes for their health and the health of our planet.”

So who’s against New York City’s Meatless Mondays? Well, Fox News for one. “Meatless Mondays More Important to NYC’s deBlasio Than City’s Looming Financial Crisis,” screams its headline. Oh please, Fox News. You’re so damn predictable.

“For those who scoff at this notion, I have some simple advice: Look at the science,” Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said. “Look at the data. Look at the childhood obesity. Look at pre-diabetes diagnoses. Look at the fact that 65% of American kids age 12-14 shows signs of early cholesterol disease. Then, perhaps you will embrace the fact that we can’t keep doing things the same way, including welcoming the idea of Meatless Mondays.”

Oddo’s thinking is spot on. Encouraging Meatless Mondays is an excellent way to accomplish many goals. Here are just a few, according to Compassion Over Killing:

  • It does more for the planet than just switching to a totally local diet.
  • It reduces each person’s carbon footprint by over 8 pounds per day (equal to not driving for two days).
  • It saves half a gallon of gasoline per day.
  • It reduces saturated fat intake by 15 percent per meatless meal.
  • It reduces the risk of breast, colon, prostate, kidney and pancreatic cancers.
  • It saves 28 land animals and 175 aquatic animals per year.

A program that gets children to eat more plant-based meals, encourages healthy food choices, makes kids think about the effects their food choices have on animals and the planet and reduces animal consumption is a win for all.

Bravo, New York City, for stepping ahead of the pack on this issue. That’s leadership and forward thinking.

Celebrate Meatless Mondays, and give it a try yourself if you’re not already vegetarian or vegan. You’ll be surprised and pleased at the range of terrific foods you can eat.

Photo credit: Getty Images

139 comments

Sophie L
Sophie L9 days ago

tyfs

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Chad A
Chad A11 days ago

Thank you.

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Donald M
Thomas M15 days ago

thank you

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William T
William Tabout a month ago

well done

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Jeramie D
Jeramie Dabout a month ago

Good start

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Ingrid A
Isabel A1 months ago

thank you for sharing

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danii p
danii p1 months ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p1 months ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p1 months ago

Thank you

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Joan E
Joan E1 months ago

It's a good start. Add some other days too.

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