By Tessa Grebey || Contributing Writer
Many students have recently been voicing their opinions on the new “Meatless Monday” craze that’s sweeping the campus. The majority of these opinions have been negative, with students commenting on the fact that their Mondays are already unbearable—the smaller amount of meat in the dining halls is the torturous cherry on top of their newly begun weeks.
The F&M Campus Dining page on Facebook often posts about Meatless Monday, and even offers further information at www.meatlessmonday.com. Upon examining the website, I have learned that “dozens of college and university campus dining halls have already become part of the widespread Meatless Monday movement.” There are dozens of us, guys, literally dozens.
Joking aside, there are some positives to this movement. It isn’t some hokey addition to F&M’s dining services; it’s much bigger than that. Meatless Monday began in 2003 and is active in thirty-six countries!
There are numerous reasons for the program; the most obvious being that a vegetarian diet is healthy. Some dismiss this reasoning as unfair: after all, if they’re paying to come to this institution, they deserve the right to whatever hunk of meat they so choose.
However, the environmental cost of shipping you that slab of meat is expensive. You may not think about it, but that cow needed room to live—which may have added to the widespread deforestation in the world—it needed water to drink, to grow its food, and to process its meat, and it needed to be shipped all the way down to your plate—which used fuel and released carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
According to www.meatlessmonday.com, approximately 1,850 gallons of water are used to produce a pound of beef, while only 39 gallons of water are used to produce a bound of vegetables. It’s pretty easy to see the positive impact that a vegetarian diet can have on the environment.
For those of you who simply detest that meat is harder to come by on Mondays, of all days, just know that the creators of this movement did their research. They found that most people see Mondays as a time to get a fresh start, to diet, to exercise, and to get their act together. So if you constantly find an excuse to skip the gym, just think that a healthy vegetarian meal could jump-start your week and get you on the right track. Even if you hate your Mondays—try to think of the positives! Eating fruits and vegetables can help manage stress levels and boost your mood, which is something we all need at this point in the semester. And if enough campuses, or households, or even enough individuals participate in the movement, we could help the planet, even for a little bit of time.
So maybe Meatless Mondays suck, and you walk out of Econ or Chemistry and only have a delicious burger on your mind. Take that craving and tuck it away for Tuesday, because your patience today could help the world have many wonderful tomorrows. And besides, holding off on meat one day will make those Saturday morning chicken nuggets better than anything you’ve ever tasted.