Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Teen Fights for a Fast Food-Free World

Food

Fast food is not in 15-year-old Koa Halpern's vocabulary, nor on his menu. A vegetarian from an environmentally concerned family, it was not until his family hosted an exchange student from Korea that he began to consider bringing his personal mantra to the masses.

Koa Halpern left the fries on the plate for more than three years, observing how they were largely unchanged over time.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

"The first thing she wanted to try when she arrived was American fast food—and she loved it," he says. "I was so intrigued by this that I wanted to understand why."

In trying to understand the crave-worthiness of fast food, Koa began to research the ingredients lists in some popular items and, he says, he was disturbed by what he found.

"I started doing experiments," says Koa. "I wanted to understand what the preservatives in fast food really did, so I made organic french fries and compared them with french fries from a well-known fast-food chain. The organic fries wilted in a few days and soon became covered in mold, but the fast-food fries looked as good as ever."

Koa left the fries on the plate for more than three years, observing how they were largely unchanged over time. "That experience taught me how processed fast food is. Not even mold will grow there," says the Colorado native, whose experience inspired him to start Fast Food Free, a nonprofit that teaches people what exactly is in fast food, and encourages them—particularly kids—to take a pledge not to eat it.

The goal, he says, is not just to fight childhood obesity or heart disease or even cancer—but all of those things together. To date, thousands have taken the online pledge, and Koa has been honored by Parenting magazine as a Kid Who Makes a Difference and identified by school-lunch evangelist Chef Ann Cooper as a Lunch Box Hero.

Check out this great video from Fast Food Free explaining the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Tell Starbucks to Serve Only Organic Milk From Cows Not Fed GMOs

7 Steps to Going Gluten-Free

Kale is King: 5 Reasons You Should Eat It

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The moon sets over the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico on March 14, 2017 in Hidalgo, Texas. John Moore / Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic, President Donald Trump found time earlier this week to sign an executive order for U.S. companies to mine the moon's mineral resources, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
Workers unload boxes of medical supplies at Mount Sinai Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 31, 2020 in New York City. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The supply chain that provides medical supplies to the world is favoring the U.S. and Europe, which are outbidding poorer nations for masks, gowns, gloves and ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic, according to NPR.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

A garbage yard in Lucknow, India where plastic bottles are dumped before being sent to recycling. Abhimanyu Kumar Sharma / Moment / Getty Images

Scientists have engineered a mutant enzyme that converts 90 percent of plastic bottles back to pristine starting materials that can then be used to produce new high-quality bottles in just hours. The discovery could revolutionize the recycling industry, which currently saves about 30 percent of PET plastics from landfills, reported Science Magazine.

Read More Show Less
A woman drinks tea inside her home. martin-dm / Getty Images

Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.

In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pope Francis delivers his homily on April 9, 2020 behind closed doors at St. Peter's basilica in the Vatican. ALESSANDRO DI MEO / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis spoke about the novel coronavirus, suggesting that the global pandemic might be one of nature's responses to the man-made climate crisis.

Read More Show Less