Meatless Norway!

The Norwegian Army makes a commitment to the environment

Graphic: Meatless Monday

Graphic: Meatless Monday

By Kelsey Larson
Managing Editor

Now, “Ola and Kari Soldier” will be served vegetarian tacos, lasagna and burgers every Monday, according to a press release from Norwegian organization “The Future in Our Hands” (Framtiden i Våre Hender).

This organization sponsors the Meatless Monday movement in Norway, an idea originally conceived in the U.S. by Sid Lerner. Lerner, founder and chairman of The Monday Campaigns, was brainstorming with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where doctors, epidemiologists and sustainability experts wrestled with the excess fat and cholesterol that were making American diets so life-threatening. Sid had just started taking a cholesterol-lowering drug, became more aware of research studies about the link of excessive fat consumption to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. He learned that a 15 percent decrease in meat consumption – three meals a week = 1 day a week – might help prevent these diseases. He recalled Meatless Mondays from WWI and WWII days, when it was used for rationing.

“We welcome the Norwegian Military to the Meatless Monday movement,” says Lerner. “Doing something good for the planet is certainly a great reason to cut out meat one day a week. Not to mention, the average Norwegian soldier will see improved health by reducing their intake of meat. That’s why we say Meatless Monday is good for you, and good for the planet.”

A meat-free day a week means the military will save 150 tons of meat a year.

“The military’s choice should reflect the choices of society at large. We see an increasing awareness of environmentally friendly food. Meat-free days are an action for climate change. But we also support it on the basis of public advisories, which say we should eat less meat for health reasons,” Commander Pål H. Stenberg told Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.

The Norwegian Parliament may also hop on the Meatless Monday bandwagon soon. Representative Heikki Holmås wants to introduce this idea to the government.

“Meatless Mondays is a great way for parliamentary representatives to participate in helping prevent climate change. I would suggest that Parliament introduce a similar scheme, where all the food served on Mondays is vegetarian,” Holmås said in a statement.

A recent Monday Campaigns survey showed that nearly one in five Americans participates in Meatless Monday on an occasional basis. Approximately 30 countries participate.

Celebrities such as Sirs Paul McCartney and Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Al Gore, Michael Pollan and Giada DeLaurentiis also participate in the movement.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.