Experts Say Going Meatless Outside of Lent Could Help the Environment

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Environment, Faith, Family, Food, Inspiration, Laudato Si, Lent, Our Lady of Refuge Church, Queens, NY

by Katie Vasquez

Fridays during Lent are a time for Catholics to give up meat, a recognition of Christ’s sacrifice for us all. 

But once upon a time, people of faith would follow meatless Fridays all year round. 

“When I was very young, it was, that was the rule. You did not eat meat on Fridays, not just during lent, but throughout the year,” said Tom Hinchen, a parishioner at St. Andrew the Apostle Church. 

It’s a practice that hasn’t been official in the church for almost 60 years,

but St Andrew the Apostle parishioner, Tom Hinchen still follows the fast.

As a member of the Metro New York Catholic climate movement, he, along with fellow member Rosa Waldron believes if more Catholics continued to not eat meat on Friday, they can get closer to God and God’s creation. 

“It’s important to me because I care for the earth,” said Hinchen “and it’s also important to me because, Pope Francis came up with the encyclical, Laudato Si, and he’s leading us in deepening our care for the earth and showing us ways that we can do that.”

“I would say that it would be great for it to be instituted again, but in a way that people are brought back in touch with how holistic our faith is,” said Rosa Waldron, a parishioner at Our Lady of Refuge church. 

In fact, statistics show that if all 73 and half million Catholics globally gave up meat once a week throughout the year, it could make a deep impact on the environment. 

It could save more than 20 and a half trillion liters of water which is the same as 8 million olympic swimming pools.

It could also cut back on the gas equivalent of  7 million cars.

“Cattle produce a lot of methane. It goes into the atmosphere. it’s just very negative,” said Hinchen. 

Rosa says even if a dozen people make the sacrifice, it could create a change that will help our planet

“Just like our faith started with 12, you know, virtually 12 people. and it ended up over the millennia, millions of people,” said Waldron. 

And Tom’s advice for those looking to start?

“A little bit at a time I think that’s very good advice like a meatless Friday or meatless Monday.”