With Meat-Free Fridays, the Catholic Church could save “millions of tons” of CO2 emissions.

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Suppose Catholic head Pope Francis were to return to the days of no meat in Catholic churches across the globe. In that case, The change could reduce millions of metric tonnes in greenhouse gases every year to a new study by the University of Cambridge.

In 2011 in 2011, the Catholic bishops in England and Wales requested that congregations cut down on meat consumption on Fridays. The study revealed that only around a quarter of Catholics modified their diets to avoid meat, yet they helped save more than 55,000 metric tons of carbon annually. This is the equivalent of 82,000 fewer people who travel round-trip between London from London to New York.

For Christians, The practice of Fridays without meat is believed to have been in place since the decree from pope Nicholas I during the 9th century. Catholics had to refrain from eating animal products on Fridays to mark the crucifixion and death of Christ.

“The Catholic Church is very well placed to help mitigate climate change, with more than a billion followers worldwide,” the study’s lead the study’s author Prof. Shaun Larcom of Cambridge’s Department of Land Economy, declared in an announcement. “Pope Francis has previously emphasized the moral imperative of actions to combat climate change and the vital role of citizens in creating sustainability via changing our lifestyles.

At the EU Youth Conference in Prague in January, Pope Francis issued a letter to young people urging them to make a change toward a better future, including cutting down on meat consumption to lessen the impact of climate change.

“May you aspire to a dignified and sober life, without luxury and waste, so that everyone in our world can enjoy a dignified existence,” wrote Pope Francis. “There is a need urgently to decrease the consumption of not solely fossil fuels but numerous unnecessary things. In some regions around the globe, it is recommended to avoid eating meat as it can also contribute to the conservation of the environment.’

Reduce your consumption of meat to keep the planet in good shape

For this study, Larcom and his colleagues paired their survey results with diet and social research information to assess the effect of a declaration released in the Catholic Church for England and Wales that reinstated Meatless Friday as a collective act of penance in September 2011. following an absence of 26 years.

The poll results show that 28 percent of Catholics in England and Wales have changed their meals on Fridays following the announcement. Of this group, 41 percent stated that they stopped eating meat on Fridays, and 55 percent said they tried to consume less on that day. For those who claimed to have cut down on their consumption, the study predicted that meat consumption would be cut in half on Fridays.

Based on the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) the population of England and Wales consume on average 100g (3.5 pounds) of meat daily. Therefore, the researchers of the study estimated that a modest cut in the intake of meat for a segment of the Catholic population is equivalent to removing 2 kilograms (0.07 pounds) of meat from their diet each week for each adult working in England as Wales.

The team estimated the carbon footprint for the slight decrease in meat consumption by looking at the emissions produced from the typical diet of meat-eaters and non-meat eaters from England and Wales. The average meat-free, high-protein diet, which includes cheese and fish, is responsible for only one-third of the greenhouse gases per kilogram compared with the typical meat eater.

If Catholics changed their diets to vegetarian and high-protein food on Fridays, the scientists determined that this could translate into about 875,000 fewer meat-based dinners per week, saving 170 metric tons of carbon or 55,000 metric tons annually.

“Meat farming is among the major sources of greenhouse gases. If Pope Francis were to reinstate Fridays without meat for all Catholics across the globe, it could provide a substantial source of cheap emissions reductions,” Larcom said. “Although only a minority of Catholics chose to comply, as we find in our case study.”

The study also states that the study suggests that if Catholic episcopal delegates in the United States alone issued an “obligation” to abstain from Mass on the final day of the week, the environmental benefits would be 20 times more than those in the United Kingdom.

“Our results highlight how dietary change among a group of people, even if they are a minority in society, can have very large consequences for consumption and sustainability,” said co-author Dr. Po-Wen She, a member of Cambridge’s Department of Land Management.

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