During trying times like a global pandemic, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of issues like climate change. Unfortunately, environments under stress from climate change are where viruses like COVID-19 are most prone to emerge since climate change is increasing the number of disease-carrying animals and bringing them into closer contact with humans (Source: Forbes). Given the importance of fighting the existential threat of climate change, the co-presidents of SEAC (Solebury Environmental Action Club) Leel Dias ‘23 and Charlotte Davis-Hup ‘21, with the support of club members and club advisor Diane Downs, are continuing Minimal Meat Fridays, which they launched last year in an effort to make Solebury more sustainable.
Our current demand for meat is especially problematic in terms of climate change since livestock are typically fed corn, soybean meal, and other grains which are grown using large amounts of fertilizer, fuel, pesticides, water, and land. Cows, whose natural diet is grass, can’t digest the corn they are fed, and therefore release large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The livestock sector—raising cows, pigs, and chickens—generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks, and automobiles combined. Additionally, large tracts of rainforest are burned daily in order to increase grazing land. “Eating less meat is a viable way of fighting climate change,” says SEAC Co-president Leel Dias. “While we cannot stop driving, it is feasible to limit our meat consumption. Every little bit helps, even if it means that you are not eating meat for one meal a week”.
Encourage your students to participate, since eating less meat can make a difference! According to Sujatha Bergen, Natural Resources Defense Council Health Campaigns Director, “If the average American cut just a quarter pound of beef a week from their diet, about one hamburger, it would be the equivalent of taking 10 million cars off the road for a year.”
If you're looking for ideas for healthy vegetarian meals, check out these recipes shared by the Solebury Community.