“Tofu stir fry, vegan” reads the sign in front of a dish of steaming tofu, vegetables, and rice on one chilly Tuesday night. Every meal without fail, Rastall’s, the main dining hall on Colorado College’s campus, provides a meat-free option to its many vegetarian students. CC is known for having a socially aware student body. But how does vegetarianism fit in?
One student, Wyatt Newhall, explains his veganism in three ways; first, to avoid causing unnecessary suffering to living creatures, second, for health reasons, and third, to lower his impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The third reason catches my interest. Agriculture accounts for 8% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 14-18% worldwide, according to a New York Times report. Lowering meat consumption can help lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Vegetarianism is known to be environmentally conscious because meat takes a lot of land and resources to produce. If we stopped eating meat, we could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 63%, according to a CNN study. The land used to grow food such as corn for cattle could also be transitioned into land to grow food to directly feed our population.
So then why is the CC student body becoming increasingly less vegetarian? What used to be called ‘Meatless Mondays’, a meat-free dinner once a week, has now become ‘Mostly Meatless Mondays’ per student request, according to Bon Appetit. “Maybe students just don’t see the connection between helping the environment and eating less meat” says Hallie Conyers-Tucker, a CC student.