Whether you think the following story represents a positive or negative development depends on whether you’re a “plate half-full” or a “plate half-empty” kind of person.
Here’s the story, according to the Boston University Daily Free Press:
A number of Boston University students are proposing a new campaign to serve less meat on Mondays during the school’s spring semester. The idea is to offer “better food options” and “cultivate environmental friendliness,” according to the newspaper.
“Meat-Reduction Mondays are being proposed as part of a sustainability campaign to increase the number of vegetarian options by 75% on Mondays in the dining halls and reduce—but not eliminate—meat options,” said Gunita Singh, a junior and the organizer of the campaign. “A school like [Boston University] has an undeniable obligation to reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible,” she said.
Students involved in the campaign agreed that the main focus is to reduce the eco-impact of Boston University’s Dining Services.
“If BU purchases less meat one day of the week, the demand for meat goes down,” Singh said. “It all makes a difference in bringing down the supply of an industry which pollutes indiscriminately.”
She had me at “making a difference.” She lost me at “pollutes indiscriminately.”
A difference in outcomes
According to the newspaper’s account, BU Dining Services already has a program called “Make a Difference Monday” which is aimed at offering more vegetarian options and featuring locally grown foods, according to Sabrina Pashtan, BU Dining Services sustainability coordinator.
“One Monday a month, we have Make a Difference Monday in our dining rooms,” Pashtan said. “It showcases foods with a lower carbon footprint.”
However, Make a Difference Monday doesn’t make much of a difference, Singh said, since it only occurs once a month. Hence, the launch of weekly Meat-Reduction Mondays.
I agree: That’s not a very snazzy name for such a program. But despite the clunky branding, I actually think this idea’s a good one—as opposed to the infamous Meatless Mondays, that is. Granted, the underlying assumptions for both programs are the same: Cutting back on meat-eating equates to cutting back on planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.
The difference, however, is that rather than having the goal of ultimately converting the world to a vegan diet—using Meatless Mondays as steppingstone—this campaign actually acknowledges that it’s not about eliminating animal foods, but rather making more intelligent nutritional choices.