The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
The Importance of Supporting Engineering Education
The Importance of Supporting Engineering Education
February 20, 2024

In today's era of information technology, engineering plays the role of a vanguard, trying to optimize processes and develop new products, making...

LTTE: Earth day awareness — you should participate in Meatless Mondays

Meatless Mondays could make a huge, long-term impact on our entire planet

By Kristie Middleton, Humane Society senior director of food policy and campaigns


Over the last decade, phrases like ‘go green’ and ‘reduce your carbon footprint’ have become firmly embedded in our lexicon, just as Earth Day has become an annual celebration. As an environmental advocate, this couldn’t make me happier. I’ve been inspired to see people switch to efficient light bulbs, recycle and use canvas shopping bags instead of paper or plastic.  

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they recycle on a regular basis compared to a quarter of Americans in the 1990s.Yet, while more people have come to recognize the carbon footprint cost associated with everyday behaviors like driving cars, a leading cause of environmental degradation has remained largely hidden: factory farming.

According to the United Nations, animal agribusiness plays a prominent role in climate change. Wherever factory farms operate, there is sure to be environmental degradation. Untreated manure from hog farms runs off into our rivers, streams and other waterways, killing fish and causing algal blooms. When this waste inevitably reaches our oceans, this creates what scientists call ‘dead zones’—areas of the ocean where all life dies off or moves away due to a lack of oxygen. The damage done to our planet by animal agribusiness is well-documented and ever-increasing; as our population grows so too does our demand for meat.

The good news is that more and more people are connecting what we put on our plates with our impact on the planet. The result is that we as a nation are enjoying more meat-free meals as a way to help ourselves and the planet that sustains us.

Since its inception in 2003, Meatless Monday has mushroomed. The idea is simple: enjoy a holiday from meat one day a week. It’s a simple solution with manifold benefits.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains…the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”

A Carnegie Mellon University study found that we’d each do more good for the planet if we ate meat-free just one day a week than we would if we ate exclusively local foods.

There are even more compelling reasons: farm animals, like the dogs and cats we consider members of our families, are individuals with personalities, needs and the capacity to suffer. Yet on industrial factory farms, they’re often treated like mere units on a production line with little consideration for their suffering.

And, of course, eating more plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods is good for our health, too. The American Heart Association recommends “substituting some of the meat in your diet with vegetables” as a simple way to reduce our risk of heart disease (America’s number one killer). Even former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has touted the virtues of meatless eating, pointing to fitness celebrity and vegetarian Bill Pearl, who according to Arnold is, “one of the greatest bodybuilders ever.”


Equally exciting is the new world of food you’ll begin to explore when you enjoy more meatless meals. From exotic fare like Indian and Ethiopian dishes to familiar favorites like spaghetti with marinara and vegetables or bean burritos, there’s no shortage of options.

Perhaps the easiest — and tastiest — way to improve our diet is by practicing the Three Rs: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products and “refining” our diets by choosing products from sources using higher animal welfare standards.

Small changes multiplied by millions make a big difference. Each of us, by pledging this Earth Day to participate in Meatless Monday, can make a tremendous difference for the world and its inhabitants all year long.

Feedback and letters to the editor can be sent to


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Hey, thanks for visiting!
We’d like to ask you to please disable your ad blocker when looking at our site — advertising revenue directly supports our student journalists and allows us to bring you more content like this.

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *