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London university bans beef from campus menu to cut carbon emissions

Cambridge University’s canteen has also not served any beef or lamb since 2016. Instead, it has been “promoting the consumption of more vegetarian and vegan foods”.

A university in London has planned to pull down beef from its canteen menu to fight against the global climate crisis. Goldsmiths, a constituent college of University in London, will be scrapping all beef products from its campus menu, the institution’s new chief has announced, as it seeks to become carbon neutral by 2025.

The move takes effect from September 2019, which is the beginning of the new academic session and will affect all canteens, cafes and food outlets on the university’s campus.

In a statement the university’s warden, Frances Corner said: “Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words.” 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.”

According to a report by the Committee on Climate Change in UK, lamb, beef and dairy products are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gases emitted by farms in Britain. In fact, in 2016, sheep and cattle alone were directly responsible for around 58 per cent of agricultural emissions in the UK.

Globally, beef is responsible for 41 per cent of livestock greenhouse gas emissions, and livestock accounts for 14.5 per cent of total global emission. In fact, according to one expert, eating less red meat, particularly beef, would be a better way for people to cut carbon emissions than giving up their cars.

The production of beef requires 28 times more land than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in 5 times more climate-warming emissions. As compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is far more extreme. It requires 160 times more land and produces 11 times more greenhouse gases.

Goldsmiths University’s warden also said, “The growing global call for organisations to take seriously their responsibilities for halting climate change is impossible to ignore,” adding, “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.”

Meanwhile, Goldsmith University is not the only university to alter its menu in its endeavour to cut its carbon footprint. Cambridge University’s canteen has also not served any beef or lamb since 2016. Instead, it has been “promoting the consumption of more vegetarian and vegan foods”.

Meanwhile, Ulster University, the University of East Anglia and a number of colleges at Oxford and Cambridge have introduced “meat-free Mondays”. Whereas, Westminster University has a “part-time carnivore loyalty card”, whereby students who have purchased four vegetarian meals in the canteen get a free vegetarian meal.

Dave Gorman, director of sustainability at Edinburgh University, said that currently 40 per cent of the menu options in campus cafes are vegetarian or vegan and they aim to increase this to 50 per cent in the coming days.

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