The City of South Miami, population 12,000, has joined the ranks of Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. It has passed a resolution proclaiming Mondays to be Meatless Mondays.
“I am an omnivore but I’m cognizant of animal welfare and carbon emissions,” says South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard.
Relax, South Miamians, you won’t be busted for eating a hamburger on Monday — or any other day. Meatless Monday is an alliterative oath taken by cities, restaurants, schools and individuals, including chefs Marcus Samuelson and Giada de Laurentis and celebs like Oprah Winrey and Emily Deschanel. It’s reminder that eating less meat has big personal and global impact.
“This is not legislation, it’s not a mandate, it’s an urging. I just want the citizens of South Miami to think about these important choices that they make,” says Stoddard, who, in addition to his elected position is a zoologist and a professor of biology at FIU.
When animal rights advocate Jessica Spain approached him with the Meatless Monday initiative, “she handed me an opportunity on a plate. I’ve been reading over the years of the carbon costs of meat production. It’s become an increasing concern of mine.”
Not all council members share his concern. At the Dec. 3 council meeting, Meatless Monday was voted in with three in favor, two opposed. Stoddard cast the tie-breaking vote.
Compared to Los Angeles, where animal rights and environmental awareness is been there, done that, Miami is “emerging,” says Spain, who moved here from Los Angeles. “It’s really open with possibility.”
Will more local municipalities follow South Miami’s lead? The mayor says it’s easy to do. He and his omnivorous family regularly enjoy meatless meals like portobellos over pasta, whether it’s on “Meatless Monday or Carbon Footprint of the Stuff You’re Eating Wednesdays,” says Stoddard who has posted a YouTube video on composting.
“What I’m trying to do is get people to think,” he says. “That’s how change comes about.”
And that’s just what Meatless Monday is geared to accomplish. Spain, who volunteers with vegan and animal rights organizations, says, “As a vegan advocate, it’s gratifying to hear one person say, through education, they will try to make some changes.”