Sustainability Wednesdays


    Hi. I’m Rebecca. I’m an English major, a dog lover, and a certifiable meat eater. A carnivore. A “sees Supersize Me and goes and eats McDonald’s the next day” consumer of animal byproduct.

    My view on meat has always been a kind of selfish one: I know of the inhumane practices of the farming industry. I’ve read the statistics. I know that the impact of methane on the environment almost outweighs the impact of the carbon fumes from our cars, and that the water needed to raise the beef for my steak uses more than taking shorter showers could possibly make up for. And I’m all for change on the big levels—more intervention is needed, from an agency less corrupt than the FDA and more powerful than the EPA, in order to drastically change the way we do agriculture in the U.S. I’ll share a petition and have my family watch Food Inc.

    But to give up meat myself? That’s a harder one. It’s easy to sign petitions and share documentaries when I agree that something needs to be done—it’s hard to change the way I’ve been eating my entire life.

    That’s honestly why I’m in favor of a change like Sustainability Wednesdays. If I’m craving a burger for dinner, and there is a burger available for dinner, no matter all the statistics I have in my head, I’m probably going to eat it. (I don’t do well on Lenten Fridays, either. I am weak of meat-avoiding spirit.)

    But if that burger is not there, one day out of the week? I’m probably not going to miss it. And the impact of the entire campus abstaining once a week is a sizeable and important change, one that’s well worth eating pasta, or rice and beans, or, heavens forbid, vegan chili, one night a week. Not to mention the fact that there are entire continents of people on this planet who do fine on diets of way less animal protein.

    I am hoping this change will lean on the Bon Appétit staff a little bit—they do a great job of feeding an entire campus of often ungrateful college students, but there’s room on the menu for better vegetarian and vegan recipes, and more alternative protein options.

    But overall, I think Meatless Mondays Sustainability Wednesdays (we need a more alliterative replacement name…) is a great and necessary change to bring to St. Mary’s. Based on the 62% of students who voted in favor of changing the Great Room menu, I don’t think I’m alone.