Meatless Mondays

         Meatless Mondays are coming! UCSB’s Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board and Real Food Challenge chapter have partnered with The Monday Campaigns, a non-profit organization that runs the Meatless Monday initiative and is associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Through this campaign, UCSB joins colleges across the nation including UCLA, University of Maryland, and Bowling Green University in recognizing the positive environmental impacts of reducing consumption of meat.
          First of all, why go meatless? In short, reducing meat consumption represents a commitment not only to personal and public health, but to environmental sustainability. According to esteemed food and health author John Robbins, vegetarians and vegans live, on average, 6 to 10 years longer than meat eaters. In addition, the livestock industry accounts for 18% of global greenhouse emissions, far more than even the global transportation sector (13.5%). Greater resource use efficiencies can also be achieved; by eliminating meat consumption for just one day, an individual saves 890 gallons of water, an amount equivalent to the volume of more than twenty bathtubs.
          UCSB’s Meatless Monday campaign was officially launched on November 23rd with a screening of the documentary Fresh to a great turnout in the residence halls, followed by a panel discussion, helping to spread awareness and pique interest in food system issues. The campaign will continue into Winter Quarter, with more Meatless Monday publicity as well as UCSB Residential Dining’s first true Meatless Monday, in which a residential dining common will not serve beef all day. The campaign is also extending further off campus – EAB is currently contacting local restaurants about the possibility of offering discounts, deals, or special vegetarian items on Mondays, the perfect incentive for students to start thinking about the health and environmental impacts of their dietary choices.
          According to UCSB seniors and EAB Meatless Monday Coordinators Corie Radka and Andrew Dunn, “Considering that meat production is one of the worst causes of global warming, a reduction in meat consumption is the best thing you can do for the environment. Whether it is eliminating meat only on Mondays or more often, you will have a tremendous impact every time you enjoy a meat-free meal. Other groups have tried to ask students to become completely vegetarian, but we recognize that not everyone is willing to make that commitment right off the bat. We also believe that it's more important for a lot of people to make a small change than for only a few people to cut out meat altogether."