King Edward VI School student Aaron McIntyre, aged 15, describes how giving up meat for one day a week can benefit the environment
However much you try to deny it, it’s always a surge of satisfaction when you can switch somebody’s opinion. There is nothing better than to see people changing from ‘it will never work’, to, ‘I’m right behind this’. Well, that same beam of satisfaction was enjoyed by me and my fellow campaigners at King Edward’s this week.
Meatless Mondays is a US scheme which has made its way over to the UK. After discussions with school leaders and consultation with students, the decision has been taken to only offer meat-free meals on Mondays, from September.
The news shook a handful of people, but the bottom line is that one day a week is no huge loss to anybody. It’s something we can all get involved with, without it creating any monumental change to our lives.
The big question is why bother? Well, the answer isn’t obvious, but creates a ‘Eureka’ moment when you find out. Primarily, cutting down on your meat intake does wonders for your health. In the news, it always seems that there is another ‘killer-food’ every other week, but meat is something scientists have been banging on about for years. Cutting down reduces your relative risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and type two diabetes, as well as certain types of cancer. Equally, it can startlingly reduce the chances of having a heart attack.
Another factor is the environment. We live in a world where more and more of us are becoming ever more environmentally conscious. My generation is the generation that is going to do something about climate change, rather than simply letting it happen. Cutting out meat on just one day can cut, for the average UK citizen, about 293kg of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. That is the same CO2 produced per head flying to Majorca.
Finally, there’s the fact that cutting out meat and going for a veg alternative makes you feel good and saves money. Buying ethically sourced meat for a meal is more expensive than a vegetarian alternative. And today, the veggie stuff is less of the disgusting mock nuggets and a bit more of the gourmet.
Being totally honest, I love a lamb roast, a sausage roll, or a bacon sandwich as much as the next person. We want people to stop, think, and bring about change – not to be the Bacon Snatchers. The benefits are plain to see: having a healthier you, without running for miles; saving the planet, without going as far as Extinction Rebellion; and putting a few extra pounds in your pocket, without having to skimp and save. Still questioning? Well remember, it’s only one day per week. It’s not a massive change. Your actions alone may not put you up there with the likes of Ghandi or Mandela in terms of changing the world. But in the words of a well-known supermarket, ‘Every Little Helps’, and every little help added together, creates one big change. Don’t sit refusing to be counted. Embrace Meatless Mondays – your body, pocket and the world depend on it.
- See more views from students at King Edward VI School on our Opinion pages
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