Celebrating Earth Day in the Dining Hall
Earth Day is the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than half a billion people every year on April 22nd. The first Earth Day took place in Philadelphia in 1970 and has served as a day of action to change human behavior and provoke policy changes. While there are a number of ways each of us can reduce our ecological footprint (e.g. recycling, carpooling, etc), establishing greener eating habits is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do. These five “Green Dining Tips” are a great place to start:
1) Only take food that you can finish
Americans waste 96 BILLION pounds of food every year, enough to feed 80 million people (equivalent to the population of Germany). We could feed entire nations with this waste! In addition, saving food can also save you money, especially when you’re paying by weight.
2) Only use takeout containers if you’re actually leaving the building
Landfills are packed with plastic and paper waste that takes hundreds of years to decompose. If you’re eating in the building, use dishware and silverware.
3) Go meatless once a week
Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
4) Bring your reusable coffee mugs and water bottles to campus
Disposable cups not only create waste, but also involve unnecessary consumption of natural resources and emit high levels of climate-changing green house gases. You can also save money by avoiding bottled water and receiving discounts for bringing your mug to campus.
5) Choose local foods
Eating local foods supports the local economy and lowers the negative effects of food transportation. Local food is also fresher and keeps us in touch with the seasons.