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 Should we implement a mandatory school veggie day in our district
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Kommentar in Englisch: Should we implement a mandatory school veggie day in our district Böblingen

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Should we implement a mandatory school veggie day in our district Böblingen? The Americans demonstrate it: Meatless Mondays. "Better for the health and the planet". The mayor of New York announced that every school will only serve vegetarian meals on Mondays (1). The Grünen proposed a similar idea in 2013, at that time the proposal was a failure. The newspaper Bild printed following headline: "Die Grünen wollen uns das Fleisch verbieten!" (2). But what is the real problem behind this headline? On one hand there are concerns about feeding the world population and the climate change. And on the other hand we have a lack of knowledge and the question if it is a private decision. So should we also implement a mandatory school veggie day? Let's start with some facts about meat. First greenhouse gas: The meat production is responsible for 20% of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, one kilogram of beef releases 13.3 kilogram CO2. For comparison one kilogram of apples causes the release of 0.5 kilogram CO2 (3). Second water: To produce one kilogram of meat 16.000 litres of water are needed, in contrast the production of one kilogram of wheat needs 1.350 litres of water (3). Third land: Nearly 80% of our agricultural area is used for livestock (4). But animal products...

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are not even responsible for 20% of the global food supply (3). But why are still some against a veggie day? It is very difficult to sell a veggie day politically and in addition a veggie day is not sufficient to aim our goal which is to protect our nature and climate (5). Because of that a single day where we go without meat cannot stop the climate warming fast enough because this would mean that we are still consuming meat on the other six days of the week. With our meat consumption on these days we still are contributing a lot to the climate change (5). This is not the solution for the climate. A further problem is that a veggie day might signal the consumer that he or she has done enough to protect our planet. But this is definitely not the case because the other six days prove the opposite (5). This would be a wrong signal for the society. In addition, it is way more important to provide the students with information about a healthy diet than a forced happiness through a veggie day (6). Because only with enough information they are able to make a permanent change in their life. Altogether an important argument is that some might claim that their individual freedom might be limited if a veggie day is implemented. Because of that it is difficult for the state to implement a mandatory veggie day in our country. On the other side, meatless Mondays can be seen as chance “[…] to raise awareness of the health impact of eating too much meat and animal products, as well as the environmental impact of industrial meat production. For schools, meatless fare is a viable option in reducing the cost of school lunches, as well as introducing students to a variety of healthy foods they may not try otherwise." (7) So it is realistic to finance the idea. Additionally, our food industry offers us a wide spectrum of alternatives, for example Lidl who offers the "Next Level Burger" which is a plant- based alternative to meat. A renowned study of the Harvard Medical School showed that plants are a very good protein source and that the meat production not only causes environmental problems, it showed that the meat consumption can pose a health risk as well (8). And it sounds like the individual freedom is limited but if you consider for example a poll in Great Britain that "70% Of British Children Want More Vegan And Veggie School Meals" (9) it is not a really valid argument anymore. So the decision would be a low risk for the school. Even our food industry starts to change their business model, for example Godo Röben, the head of marketing of Rügenwalder Mühle, a company which only used to produce and sell meat said in an interview that their goal is to sell 40% vegetarian products until 2022 (10). These arguments show that it is realistic to implement a veggie day. At first you might think what a single district can contribute to our environment, but a small step and raising awareness is better than doing nothing. And as I mentioned it is becoming a worldwide trend for example in New York and in Great Britain. Nothing happened politically since the attempt of the Grünen six years ago. So at this stage of the discussion it is more efficient to act locally than to discuss it on a political level. In my opinion it is the right thing to do. A mandatory school veggie day is not a democratic decision but it is not a restriction of an individual person because everybody is free to eat somewhere else or to eat meat at home. Additionally it is legitimate because there is no right to have a meal with meat at school. As described above there are no negative consequences concerning the health of students. It is a compromise because the school is still able to serve meat during the rest of the week. Many students are open-minded but a possible conflict can be avoided by providing students with background information. In comparison, for me the public welfare outweighs the individual freedom because the consequences if we do not make a change in our behaviour are way more serious. As Fridays for future shows students are interested in protecting our climate. With a mandatory veggie day students would have the chance to contribute something for a better climate. The challenge is to see this day as a starting point for changing behaviour in our daily life. Which better places do we have for that idea than a school full of young people who have their whole future ahead of them? (1): https://www.spiegel.de/lebenundlernen/schule/schulessen-new-yorker-schueler- bekommen-veggieday-a-1257410.html (2): https://www.bild.de/politik/inland/vegetarisch/gruene-wollen-einmal-die-woche-in- kantinen-fleisch-verbieten-31661266.bild.html (3): https://www.greenpeace.de/themen/landwirtschaft/fleischeslust-was-das-stuck- lebenskraft-tatsachlich-kostet (4): https://youtu.be/k3SJLhQApyE (5): https://www.vegpool.de/magazin/gruende-gegen-veggie-day.html (6): https://mein-referendariat.de/artikel/pro-und-contra-referate (7): https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/meatless-mondays-why-public-schools- are-going-vegetarian (8): https://www.deutsche-apotheker-zeitung.de/news/artikel/2016/08/01/eiweiss-ist- nicht-gleich-eiweiss (9): https://www.plantbasednews.org/lifestyle/70-british-children-want-more-vegan- veggie-school-meals (10): https://www.zukunftsinstitut.de/artikel/interview-godo-roeben

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Ann-Sophie Schröm  

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 Should we implement a mandatory school veggie day in our district
Böblingen?
The Americans demonstrate it: Meatless Mondays. "Better for th

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Kommentar in Englisch: Should we implement a mandatory school veggie day in our district Böblingen

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Should we implement a mandatory school veggie day in our district Böblingen? The Americans demonstrate it: Meatless Mondays. "Better for the health and the planet". The mayor of New York announced that every school will only serve vegetarian meals on Mondays (1). The Grünen proposed a similar idea in 2013, at that time the proposal was a failure. The newspaper Bild printed following headline: "Die Grünen wollen uns das Fleisch verbieten!" (2). But what is the real problem behind this headline? On one hand there are concerns about feeding the world population and the climate change. And on the other hand we have a lack of knowledge and the question if it is a private decision. So should we also implement a mandatory school veggie day? Let's start with some facts about meat. First greenhouse gas: The meat production is responsible for 20% of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, one kilogram of beef releases 13.3 kilogram CO2. For comparison one kilogram of apples causes the release of 0.5 kilogram CO2 (3). Second water: To produce one kilogram of meat 16.000 litres of water are needed, in contrast the production of one kilogram of wheat needs 1.350 litres of water (3). Third land: Nearly 80% of our agricultural area is used for livestock (4). But animal products...

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are not even responsible for 20% of the global food supply (3). But why are still some against a veggie day? It is very difficult to sell a veggie day politically and in addition a veggie day is not sufficient to aim our goal which is to protect our nature and climate (5). Because of that a single day where we go without meat cannot stop the climate warming fast enough because this would mean that we are still consuming meat on the other six days of the week. With our meat consumption on these days we still are contributing a lot to the climate change (5). This is not the solution for the climate. A further problem is that a veggie day might signal the consumer that he or she has done enough to protect our planet. But this is definitely not the case because the other six days prove the opposite (5). This would be a wrong signal for the society. In addition, it is way more important to provide the students with information about a healthy diet than a forced happiness through a veggie day (6). Because only with enough information they are able to make a permanent change in their life. Altogether an important argument is that some might claim that their individual freedom might be limited if a veggie day is implemented. Because of that it is difficult for the state to implement a mandatory veggie day in our country. On the other side, meatless Mondays can be seen as chance “[…] to raise awareness of the health impact of eating too much meat and animal products, as well as the environmental impact of industrial meat production. For schools, meatless fare is a viable option in reducing the cost of school lunches, as well as introducing students to a variety of healthy foods they may not try otherwise." (7) So it is realistic to finance the idea. Additionally, our food industry offers us a wide spectrum of alternatives, for example Lidl who offers the "Next Level Burger" which is a plant- based alternative to meat. A renowned study of the Harvard Medical School showed that plants are a very good protein source and that the meat production not only causes environmental problems, it showed that the meat consumption can pose a health risk as well (8). And it sounds like the individual freedom is limited but if you consider for example a poll in Great Britain that "70% Of British Children Want More Vegan And Veggie School Meals" (9) it is not a really valid argument anymore. So the decision would be a low risk for the school. Even our food industry starts to change their business model, for example Godo Röben, the head of marketing of Rügenwalder Mühle, a company which only used to produce and sell meat said in an interview that their goal is to sell 40% vegetarian products until 2022 (10). These arguments show that it is realistic to implement a veggie day. At first you might think what a single district can contribute to our environment, but a small step and raising awareness is better than doing nothing. And as I mentioned it is becoming a worldwide trend for example in New York and in Great Britain. Nothing happened politically since the attempt of the Grünen six years ago. So at this stage of the discussion it is more efficient to act locally than to discuss it on a political level. In my opinion it is the right thing to do. A mandatory school veggie day is not a democratic decision but it is not a restriction of an individual person because everybody is free to eat somewhere else or to eat meat at home. Additionally it is legitimate because there is no right to have a meal with meat at school. As described above there are no negative consequences concerning the health of students. It is a compromise because the school is still able to serve meat during the rest of the week. Many students are open-minded but a possible conflict can be avoided by providing students with background information. In comparison, for me the public welfare outweighs the individual freedom because the consequences if we do not make a change in our behaviour are way more serious. As Fridays for future shows students are interested in protecting our climate. With a mandatory veggie day students would have the chance to contribute something for a better climate. The challenge is to see this day as a starting point for changing behaviour in our daily life. Which better places do we have for that idea than a school full of young people who have their whole future ahead of them? (1): https://www.spiegel.de/lebenundlernen/schule/schulessen-new-yorker-schueler- bekommen-veggieday-a-1257410.html (2): https://www.bild.de/politik/inland/vegetarisch/gruene-wollen-einmal-die-woche-in- kantinen-fleisch-verbieten-31661266.bild.html (3): https://www.greenpeace.de/themen/landwirtschaft/fleischeslust-was-das-stuck- lebenskraft-tatsachlich-kostet (4): https://youtu.be/k3SJLhQApyE (5): https://www.vegpool.de/magazin/gruende-gegen-veggie-day.html (6): https://mein-referendariat.de/artikel/pro-und-contra-referate (7): https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/meatless-mondays-why-public-schools- are-going-vegetarian (8): https://www.deutsche-apotheker-zeitung.de/news/artikel/2016/08/01/eiweiss-ist- nicht-gleich-eiweiss (9): https://www.plantbasednews.org/lifestyle/70-british-children-want-more-vegan- veggie-school-meals (10): https://www.zukunftsinstitut.de/artikel/interview-godo-roeben