Meatless Monday in Davao

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

DAVAO City joined the global community in celebrating Earth Day last April 22. Climate change has become real especially to Filipinos after super howler Yolanda a.k.a. Haiyan devastated most of Eastern Visayas leaving thousands of inhabitants dead and billions of pesos worth of crops, infrastructures and properties decimated.

Since 1999, this yearly activity has been coordinated by Manila-based Earthday Network Philippines to raise public awareness about the environment and to promote responsibility and action of protecting and caring Mother Earth. This year environmental groups in Davao, Agusan, North Cotabato and Ozamiz like Gitib Inc., project proponent of “Our River, Our Life” (OROL) Project supported by Terre des Hommes-Germany and its partners in the Mindanao Action Group for Children’s Rights and Protection (MAGCRP) conducted various education and mobilization activities. The said project also promotes people’s awareness to the role of rivers and natural waterways on the environment and on ways to protect them.

But celebrating Earth Day is not a one day, once- a-year affair.


According to Petteri Makitalo, a Manila-based Finnish who is active in the Earthday Philippines Network and who is also chief executive officer of The Freefood Corporation, global citizens must take action to protect the environment.

“Earth day must be celebrated everyday by all because it needs individual concern and action to protect Mother Earth,” he said.

His company produces Coco Dolcé, a line of chocolates made from locally-produced cacao and coco-sugar instead of cane sugar. It also sponsored a vegetarian dinner with cooperative partners, health buffs and environmentalists in the evening of April 24, 2014 at a local hotel in Davao as part of this year’s celebration.

This was the fourth of a series of vegetarian dinners being hosted by The Freefood Corporation and local partners like Francisco Gonzales, Nonoy Cabazares, and Etol Laurente, since 2012 to bring to the consciousness of Dabawenyos about the campaign to save “Inang Kalikasan” and to promote healthy lifestyle through the “Meatless Monday” movement.

“Aside from helping the Earth and the Philippines from the perils of calamities brought about by climate change, the Meatless Monday movement will hopefully promote personal health by reducing meat intake of Filipinos for at least one day in a week”, Makitalo added. He said that based on UN studies, the meat industry is the second or third contributor to carbon footprints in the local and global scale.

“World Bank economists estimate the industry contributes 51 percent of global carbon emission pattern that causes tremendous cost to the environment,” he continued.

Makitalo argued that meat also causes many health problems. A recent study by Oxford University shows the relationship of cancer and other human diseases for consuming meat products at least three times a week. These health conditions could cost billions of dollars in medicine and ancillary medical services to society every year.

“These are the reasons that we are launching this Meatless Monday movement which may not necessarily be on a Monday just like in many countries in Europe to raise awareness and to take responsibility of our individual actions which may have detrimental effects to our health and environment”, he concluded. Offhand, a core group of environmentalists is planning to make representations with the City Council of Davao for possible legislative support to the movement.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 27, 2014.


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