Seeing Stag Hill campus plastered in climate week posters, I couldn’t help but notice the negligence of an important factor in the ever-worsening condition of our planet. For the sake of a chicken caesar wrap, people like to forget where their food came from and the repercussions. Livestock supply, slaughter and waste account for 14.5% of all greenhouse gases produced by humans, of which two thirds are from cattle produce (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2017 ). So maybe environmentalism and veganism is more synonymous than one may think.
Regarding the university itself, healthy and moral eating is not high enough on the agenda. In Simply Fresh, for example, the most accessible grocery and library snack source for students is stocked with meaty sandwiches and buttery cakes. Although also supplying fruit and veg, I believe there is a lacking in vegan ‘grab and go’ foods with any major form of nutrition, which deprives students of the choice to consume responsibly. Upon browsing mainstream supermarkets, Co-Op, the main source of Simply Fresh’s stock, actually provides very little dietary variation amongst their sandwich selection (Sainsbury’s being even worse as they stock 0). Not even offering vegan food between bread, Co-Op’s only suitable option is a ‘leafy salad vegan falafel and hummus’ at £2.95, the same price as a hoisin duck wrap, for 300g of bulgur wheat and one patty of falafel.
Although Simply Fresh stock Co-op products, Tesco and Waitrose can be taken as an example of interesting choices for vegan grab and go. From an ‘MLT’ (smoked mushroom, lettuce and tomato) for £2.90, to a spicy Mexican style wrap for £3, these are the kinds of well thought out flavours that should be available, just as every other type of sandwich is.
Young people are paving the way for the future of our planet and, without education, how are they expected to make informed choices about how they choose to treat our planet and the creatures that inhabit it? Not many people are aware of what occurs inside a dairy farm, and I’m sure witnessing it would at least cause one to consider the animal and the environment before consuming. A greater education of the process from farm to plate is needed to shop responsibly and respect your food.
Climate week is no doubt a positive event and reducing mass production as well as improving recycling will have an impact on our plant. I believe we would also benefit from choosing Quorn nuggets over chicken nuggets, which is just as easy as saying no to a plastic straw. So, while you’re sipping your cappuccino with half and half, you should consider the treatment of not just the planet, but all of the living beings that inhabit it, and simply ask for soya next time.