Red, White, and Meatless!

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Challenge #3: A Green Valentine’s Day?

Ah, Valentine’s Day. ‘Tis the season for cookies, candy, love—and creativity! Along with about 20 other people at my college, I made all my valentines this year out of recycled materials (materials I planned to recycled but decided re-use was more effective!). Not only was it a blast, but it yielded very personalized and creative results.

This Green Families Challenge was extra challenging for me, since college life is not exactly conducive to making meals for myself (unless it involves PB&J). I eat virtually all of my meals in the dining hall, so making my eating habits more sustainable involves some creativity.

When I walk into a dining hall, I think about three things when choosing my meals: eat local, eat in season (it’s better for the environment and it tastes better!), and eat less meat. My Valentine’s Day dinner will be red, white, and meatless.

The easiest thing for me to make my eating habits more sustainable is to reduce my meat consumption. I am not vegan. I am not vegetarian, although both are excellent for the planet! I defend my right to eat what I want but I also defend my responsibility to protect the planet.

On that note, I have given up red meat (except for the occasional kosher salami sandwich!), and I’m aiming to go meatless at least one more day every week. Giving up red meat is really effective at reducing greenhouse gas production. Cows are one of the largest methane sources in the world, accounting for 28 percent of global methane emissions (about 80 million metric tons!). Methane is 25 times as potent as a greenhouse gas. The cows are a problem!

Additionally, the meatless day is actually even easier than I thought it would be. By choosing a meatless pasta or pizza dish or veggie stir fry, I can easily skip eating turkey or chicken for one day a week. If everyone in the U.S. went meatless one day a week, the carbon savings would be the same as taking 19.2 million cars off the road for a year. That one day a week can make a whole lot of difference.

Just something to chew on when you are contemplating your next meal: what you eat really does have an impact!

Ronit Ambramson

Read Ronit’s previous post, Brr. It’s Cold in Here.