The University of Cambridge, based in the United Kingdom, decided to cut out products containing red meat from its menus and replace them with plant-based alternatives instead. The decision "dramatically reduced their environmental footprint", according to Andrew Balmford, a professor of Conservation Science at the university who advised on the changes.
To be more precise, food-related carbon emissions dropped by one-third per kilogram of food purchased, and a 28% reduction in land use per kilogram of food purchased. Overall carbon emissions across the catering service were reduced by 10.5%. "It is hard to imagine any other interventions that could yield such dramatic benefits in such a short span of time", said Balmford to BBC. This is really huge!
The catering service's chefs were given vegan cookery classes and cafe managers were given training in sustainability. The 14 outlets and 1,500 annual events of the University have been implementing the change (and celebrating the impressive results) since October 2016.
It's not new that our food habits are one of the main factors leading to the environmental catastrophe we are facing. There's no doubt that animal products are behind events like the last June being considered the hottest month on Earth's history, to the glacier in Iceland that completely disappeared due to global warming. Even the UN is saying that going vegan is necessary for containing climate change. Not to mention the animal cruelty involved and potential health risks related to animal products consumption.
Cambridge University's shift is a good example of how small and simple decisions taken locally can cause a big impact on the world we live in. Thousands of animals are being spared, people are eating more veggies, having access to healthier options and they are also helping to preserve the natural environment we live in.