The Environment & Sustainability Team is launching a new campaign to turn meat loving students and staff into part-time carnivores. Aston is one of only 12 universities signed up to this national campaign.
It is well known that reducing meat consumption is one of the most effective personal changes we can make to reduce both our carbon footprints and our demand on the Earth’s resources. However, most of us are meat lovers and it is particularly easy for students to get into the habit of eating a lot of cheap meat, which is neither good for ourselves nor the rest of the world.
The livestock industry is responsible for 18% of man made greenhouse gas emissions. A large part of that is due to the clearing of forests to grow animal feed. Even if you stick to British meat, animals here are often raised on soy grown on land that used to be rainforest. It also takes at least 10kg of grain to intensively produce 1kg of beef, making it a very wasteful way to produce food. Rather unfair given that 1 billion humans go hungry every day.
There are five part-time carnivore options to choose from, depending on how far you’re prepared to go – Meat-Free Mondays, Vegging-Out, Meat-On/Meat-Off, Meating-Out or Meaty Sundays (and if you’re not a meat lover, look out for option 6!).
1. Meat-Free Mondays. We have borrowed this idea from Sir Paul McCartney. It doesn't have to be Monday. Pick any day you like. This is a good thing to do with your family and friends. Your estimated weekly saving: 29 m2 Land / 8 kg CO2
2. Vegging-Out. The zero-effort option. You don't need to change your weekly shop or learn any new recipes. Just choose options marked V for veggie whenever you are out. Your estimated weekly saving: 44 m2 Land / 12 kg CO2
3. Meat-On/Meat-Off. This options gives you the flexibility to flip between meaty days and veggie days whenever it suits you, but you must try to be meat-free at least half the time. Your estimated weekly saving: 102 m2 Land / 28 kg CO2
4. Meating-Out. No meat at home, but you can really treat yourself when you are out. This option is ideal if you happen to live with a vegetarian. Your estimated weekly saving: 160 m2 Land / 44 kg CO2
5. Meaty Sundays. Whether it's your Sunday roast or the hangover breakfast bacon, eating meat one day a week is the traditional way to be a part-time carnivore. Your estimated weekly saving: 174 m2 Land / 48 kg CO2
6. Virtually Veggie. Perhaps not a true part-time carnivore; you rarely, or never, eat meat. Still, you deserve to be counted. Just don't be too smug about it! Your estimated weekly saving: 203 m2 Land / 56 kg CO2
For further information or to sign up to the campaign, please contact Victoria Johnsen, Environment and Sustainability Officer on ext 4970 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words by Louise Russell
15 March 2011