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New York City Public Schools to Join ‘Meatless Mondays’ Movement
For students in the United States' largest school district, "Meatloaf Monday" in the cafeteria will soon be a thing of the past.
Instead, New York City public schools will be adopting "Meatless Mondays" for the 2019-2020 school year in an effort to improve public health and reduce the city's environmental footprint, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week.
Each Monday, all breakfast and lunch food served to students will be entirely vegetarian, though students are still welcome to bring pack lunches with meat in them. According to the Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Services officials will meet with students to receive their input before the menu is finalized.
The program was successfully piloted at 15 Brooklyn schools in Spring 2018 and the decision to expand it to the more than 1,800 schools citywide was based on positive feedback and metrics. The program will be cost-neutral, officials said, and school lunch is already free for all 1.1 million public school students in the city.
"When you're talking to a 10-year-old and they know this is good for their body and good for the earth, that proves we're going in the right direction," de Blasio said in a video posted to his Twitter account. "There's a lot of enthusiasm."
New York City joins a national movement of more than 100 other districts across the U.S. that participate in Meatless Mondays, according to Grist. Other organizations are getting on board too: New York City hospitals launched a Meatless Mondays initiative this year, while the City of Berkeley, Calif. now requires all food served at official meetings and events on Mondays to be vegan, The Hill reported.
Four school districts in northeastern Brazil recently went a step further: the cities voted to become the first in the world to serve only plant-based meals in order to reduce their environmental footprint and boost healthy eating habits.
A large body of research suggests that a plant-based diet can lower an individual's risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, registered dietician and author of "Plant-Powered for Life" Sharon Palmer told CNN. Meat can be a good source of protein, but most Americans eat more than 1.5 times the recommended amount. Excess red and processed meat consumption is linked with increased risk of the same diseases plant-based diets can help prevent, research found.
Eating less meat also appears to be beneficial for the earth.
A 2018 study published in the journal Science found that animal husbandry related to meat and dairy produces 60 percent of agricultural greenhouse gases and is responsible for 83 percent of all farmland use while only providing 18 percent of all global calorie intake. In other words, reduced meat consumption can lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions and more efficient use of farmlands.
"Reducing our appetite for meat is one of the single biggest ways individuals can reduce their environmental impact on our planet," Mark Chambers, director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability, said in a press release. "Meatless Mondays will introduce hundreds of thousands of young New Yorkers to the idea that small changes in their diet can create larger changes for their health and the health of our planet."
This trend toward "reducetarianism" has met some resistance, however. The U.S. Department of Agriculture pulled its support for Meatless Mondays in 2012 after complaints from livestock industry lobbyists and GOP legislators, The Hill reported.
- The year of the vegan ›
- Vegan School Lunches Coming to 6 Million California Students ›
- When Your Kindergarten Goes Vegan - The New York Times ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.