Paul McCartney, the former Beatle and renowned recording artist, launched the Meat Free Mondays campaign to help support the climate, personal health, end to animal cruelty, and, of course, our bank accounts.
The musician has been an outspoken vegetarian for years, so it is no surprise that #MFMclimatepledge is catching fire.
As a vegetarian, I’ve found the pledge rather easy, but the pledge should act as a call to all students that indulge in our animal counterparts. Not eating meat for even one day can make all the difference.
Right now, our climate is failing and the biggest issue is that there seems to be nothing we can do in our everyday lives to change it. Choosing not to eat meat, whether all the time or once a week, can make a difference. Livestock production is a major factor in greenhouse gas emissions, and choosing not to eat meat can help lower gas emissions overall. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said we need to lower our emissions by 80 percent before 2050 to avoid catastrophic damage.
Choosing healthier alternatives instead of eating meat can do so much to make you a healthier person. Meat has links to heart disease, cancer, strokes and other medical issues that could be avoided by simply lowering the intake of meat each week. By eating at the dining hall, it can be easy to eat what is available or maintain a habit, but there are many vegetarian options that are much healthier for such a crucial time period of our lives.
Ohio University freshman Daniel Kington has cut meat and dairy out of his diet entirely. He said “burrito bars and salad bars are two of the best options in the dining hall. You have to be creative but that is what makes it fun.”
Joel Nadler, another OU freshman, has also given up meat and dairy. He agrees with Kington, but has expressed concern with the dining halls.
“Cutting out only meat is easier, but when it comes down to it, exclusive vegetarian dishes are usually not healthier alternatives,” Nadler said. “A big problem with vegetarian dishes is they are heavily dependent on sodium and cheese.”
Animal cruelty is a very real and prevalent issue across the globe. I spoke to OU’s vice president of FoodMatters, Janice Brewer, and she said the organization spoke out in support of the Meat Free Mondays pledge.
Brewer said there are options to buy humanely raised meat. She said “local, humanely raised and socially just meat is easiest to find at farmers market where the money you spend goes directly to the farmer.”
Part of bettering our environment involves taking care of the other beings that inhabit it. Cutting out meat one day per week can dramatically change meat sales, which in turn can help the fates of these animals. If that doesn’t work for you, humanely raised products have the “Certified Humane Raised and Handled” label. So if you do buy meat, make sure that it is humanely raised.
If you are currently on a, ahem, forced dining hall plan, then pricing of meat is not as much of a concern. To those who are not on a fixed meal plan, you might already know that meat is expensive. Cutting it out of your diet can save you money that could go to other expenses in a budget.
I understand that it is a lot to ask of one person to cut meat completely out of their diet. I have been doing it for the past two years, and it can still be difficult at times. That is why the Meat Free Monday pledge works so well. It only requires one day for people to be a little more environmentally conscious, and if enough of us join we can make a lasting difference for a better world.