Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bringing Veganism to the Youth

Meatless Monday

Veganism is a constant learning process. Sometimes, I spend literally hours per day surfing and searching the internet for recipes, ideas, facts, new research, new vegans, etc... Sometimes, I wonder how I don't get fired from my day job, I'm surfing so much! I'm not even sure what got me on the path today, but it seems there's a youth movement afoot. Granted, the exciting stuff that is going on is vegetarian and not quite vegan, it is still pretty progressive.

If you look at some of the great changes we've gone through as a society over the past thirty years, like wearing seatbelts, eradicating smoking (at least, in public), significantly reducing drinking and driving, and recycling, they were a success because the youth were educated with the facts and benefits. Good or bad, it all starts with the youth - they do grow up, after all.

The school board in Baltimore, Maryland, USA has officially designated Mondays 'Meatless Mondays'. That means, every Monday the 80,000 public school students in the Baltimore system will be served only vegetarian food in their cafeterias. They will still be serving dairy products and eggs, but, hey, it's a start.

This initiative is in response to the obesity epidemic that is plaguing the continent. Hopefully, the students will be provided with facts about the evils of factory farms and the harm animal farming does on the environment.

This has inspired Being A Vegan Athlete to start an e-mail campaign to lobby the many, many levels of Canadian government to get a program like this running in Canadian schools sooner than later. As the responses roll in (it's government, so please - no breath holding), good or bad, they will be posted on the blog.

For further reading on the Baltimore project read:

'Meatless Mondays' is not something new that is starting with Baltimore. Meatless Monday is actually a non-profit initiative in association with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health. The goal of Meatless Monday is to reduce meat consumption by 15%. Their website is an excellent source of information and provides all you need to know about the initiative.

Interestingly, they chose Monday because studies suggest that behaviors begun on a Monday are most likely to maintain throughout the week. According to the website's history page, the initiative was actually started during WWI to try and conserve food. Meatless Monday was reborn in 2003 with a goal to reduce the risk of preventable disease.

The Meatrix

Hopefully, the school boards, as they jump on board, can use 'The Meatrix' as a learning tool. Despite the fact that 'The Meatrix' is all about ending factory farming and not about going vegan or even vegetarian, it is still information that can have an impact on the future vegans out there. 'The Meatrix' is a series of animated shorts that spoof 'The Matrix'. It brings to light the incredible cruelty in the factory farms and can be a catalyst in the decision to cut the flesh from the diet.

I encourage all of you to contact your local government officials and your local school boards and bring to light that our children's diets need to change - now.

No comments:

Post a Comment