Our eating habits have footprints

My main reason for choosing to be vegetarian this March is because of the depleting resources and the policies surrounding resources such as water. Agriculture plays an enormous role in the carbon and water footprints made on this earth.

This article is good at breaking down the carbon footprint of the diet.

In the news lately there is uproar about school cafeterias adopting Meatless Mondays. What is Meatless Mondays. Seem’s like a good idea to me but there is plenty of opposition. A quick breakdown of the current situation.

It’s Meatless Monday 9/29/14. Have you had your vegetables today? Most probably haven’t, but maybe not for the lack of trying. Or maybe they’re pledging to eat two steaks in protest against those who will eat none. The Meatless Monday campaign is willing to catch the rotten tomatoes thrown it’s way from the opposite end of the table and turn it into compost.

The most recent Meatless Monday naysayer is the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Todd Staples, who recently resigned and accepted the role of president for the Texas Oil and Gas Association. Your left eyebrow should strike that questioning pose. He is calling the Meatless Monday campaign propaganda. His reasoning for such a hypocritical statement is that he’s concerned about the issue of hunger. Ironically, the issue of hunger is caused by the ideology Staples is defending. Now both your eyebrows are heightened with skepticism.

Vegetables in cafeterias have notoriously scrunched up our noses. However, with the reforming of the cafeteria system, food in general is prepared better and more appealing. What needs to stop is the propaganda of framing healthy food as disgusting and meat as the most important protein.

Taking meat out of the option for one meal a day is an opportunity to educate about food and nutrition. It’s common knowledge American is suffering severely from an obesity problem. We need the benefits from eating less processed and fresher foods like fruits and vegetables. American children will not starve because the cafeteria isn’t offering meat one day a week.

This is also a platform to educate the broader public about the relationship of food between politics and economies. The hot topic is food scarcity. The issue has roots in water, pollution, land rights, poverty, war, economics, policy, and health. A beginner’s research is enough to make the connections. The Meatless Monday website alone has sufficient information to turn your stomach about the consequences from the overconsumption of meat.

I switched to a vegetarian diet in March because of my studies in environmental science from the Purdue College of Agriculture. In Indiana, including West Lafayette, there isn’t much of the granola scene. So, I’m not jumping on a bandwagon of trending suburbanite hipsters. The point isn’t to turn everyone into vegetarians or vegans, as Staples fears.

The point is to stand up to dietary dictators like Staples, and demand a more diverse food system in order to be healthier as an ecosystem. In reality, the bandwagon is much bigger with a strong, steady foundation of diverse personalities and specialties working together to better the planet.

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One thought on “Our eating habits have footprints

  1. You are off to a good start! Can you expand some more about the environmental problems associated with a normal meat-eaters diet. Also, what was your carbon and water footprint before you started this project? That is going to be important to know so you can track your progress and know how much you saved in carbon and water by the end of the semester.

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