Star Trek foundation funds Green Mondays

Gene Roddenberry, creator of the Star Trek series, brought meaningful and thought-provoking science fiction to “think, question, and challenge the status quo” to audiences across the globe, with the intention of creating “a brighter future”. In 2010, Gene’s son Rod established the Roddenberry Foundation to build on his father’s legacy and philosophy of inclusion, diversity, and respect for life.

As part of the annual Roddenberry Prize grant, which this year focuses on innovative approaches to Climate Change, the foundation recently awarded $250,000 to the vegan startup Green Monday for converting 1.6 million Hong Kong residents to a plant-based diet. Founded by Hong Kong entrepreneur David Yeung, who is the maker of both a vegan pork product and owner of a vegan-friendly market and cafe chain, Green Monday is a media campaign, encouraging the Asian community to give plant-based meals a try – comparable to the Meatless Mondays campaign popular throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Yeung explains: “Everyone can be an agent of change. Every day can be Earth Day. The time is always right to do what is right. And the easiest and most impactful way you can help yourself and the planet is by reducing your meat consumption and shifting to a more plant-based diet.”

Prior to establishing Green Monday in 2012, Yeung says much of Asia was unaware of the issues with livestock production and the industry’s impact on the climate; China currently consumes more meat than any country in the world, about twice the total amount consumed in the US.

His strategy seems to be working. Within just a few years, the campaign has mobilized more than 1.6 million people in Hong Kong to consciously reduce meat consumption, Yeung says. While vegetarianism has long been viewed in Asia as strictly a part of Buddhism, the diet has become significantly more mainstream, thanks in large part to Green Monday.

Star Trek has a long tradition of supporting vegetarians and promoting vegetarianism.  The original actors, Leonard Nimoy who played Dr Spock, and William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk, were both vegetarians in real life. In the show, the vulcans, such as Dr Spock, do not eat meat, and in Star Trek the Next Generation, the story is told that “By the time humanity reaches Stardate 41249.3 (April 1, 2364 for non-Trekkies), animals will no longer be used for food.”   I hope it’s sooner than that!