A University Banned Beef. Because… Climate Change

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Starting in September, one university’s menu is going to be missing some classic college cafeteria options. Beef burgers, tacos, burritos, spaghetti sauce, or anything else that would feature beef in the recipe are not going to be available. The university did provide a reason for their decision, citing climate change as the primary motivator.

Goldsmith University in London – which has a student population of about 10,000 – is going to remove all beef products from its campus starting at the beginning of the upcoming academic year. According to a report by CNN, the announcement was made by the university’s new chief, who also stated that the institution would try to become carbon neutral by the year 2025.

The change impacts every food outlet on campus, including cafes and canteens.

Another policy update that students will have to bear involves a 10p (12 cents) levy on single-use plastic cups and bottled waters. The charge is meant to discourage the use of those items, and money collected from the levy will be directed toward the “green student initiative fund.”

“Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words,” said Frances Corner, Goldsmith University’s warden.

“I truly believe we face a defining moment in global history and Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organizations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use.”

The majority of greenhouse gases emitted by British farms are said to be from beef, dairy, and lamb production. According to a report by the UK Committee on Climate Change, 58 percent of agricultural emissions in Britain were attributed to cattle and sheep.

On a global scale, beef is reportedly responsible for 41 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, and 14.5 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions are reportedly livestock-related.

“The growing global call for organizations to take seriously their responsibilities for halting climate change is impossible to ignore,” said Corner.

“Though I have only just arrived at Goldsmiths, it is immediately obvious that our staff and students care passionately about the future of our environment and that they are determined to help deliver the step change we need to cut our carbon footprint drastically and as quickly as possible.”