University should have more beef with serving red meat

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Queen’s University can’t completely support environmental sustainability until they address what they put on student plates.
 
The climate crisis is reason enough for the University’s dining services to follow other schools’ leads, and transition away from serving red meat to students. 
 
Earlier this month, Goldsmith’s, University of London announced that they were removing beef from dining hall menus in an effort to become carbon neutral by 2025.
 
The transition away from beef is a practical step for universities to take in their moves toward sustainability. Eliminating red meats, primarily beef and lamb, would directly benefit Queen’s action to diminish the school’s carbon footprint. 
 
The land, water, and agricultural resources required for raising cattle are hugely detrimental to the environment—livestock and dairy farming take up 83 per cent of the world’s agricultural land, but accounts for only 18 per cent of the calories we consume globally. Cattle represent 65 per cent of the livestock sector’s whopping 7.1 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. 
 
University meal plans and dining halls are responsible for feeding thousands of students every day. Removing beef from menus would help curb its overall demand and encourage students to explore sustainable eating. 
 
While eliminating beef from dining halls is a positive first step, Queen’s should take a more holistic approach to sustainability. To put its money where its mouth is, the school should place a greater emphasis on quality meat-free meals across campus. 
 
The school’s current model for vegan and vegetarian eating puts the onus on students to find their own meat-free options. “Meatless Mondays” at Queen’s simply consists of more vegan entree options served at Leonard Dining Hall—meat is still served in other entree options. Vegan pizza and pasta only show up on campus once a week.
 
Most first-year students live in residence and establish their eating habits through the University’s Hospitality Services. Although meatless meals might be an adjustment for most, drastic change is necessary to fight the current climate crisis. 
 
Introducing new students to meal options excluding beef and promoting quality plant-based meal alternatives empowers them to make—and sustain—changes to their diets when they start cooking for themselves. 
 
And for all the students who need their fix of authentic hamburgers and pepperoni, the solution is simple: buy it off-campus. 
 
Of course, changes to the meal plan at Queen’s won’t singlehandedly combat the climate crisis on behalf of the institution, but it’s a good start. 
 
Changes to the university’s basic services are necessary if Queen’s seeks eco-friendly action.
 
Clearly, amending dining hall menus to promote sustainable eating practices is a practical and efficient step forward for the University.
 
 

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