College helps shape the minds of the future, but the climate crisis may just be standing in the way.
As developers of young minds and bright futures, colleges and universities should step up and commit to fighting climate change. One of the best ways to do this is through dining services.
There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Together, these institutions feed millions of students each year. Imagine the impact that could be had if they made a commitment to more sustainable dining halls!
By taking the 20/20 Foodprints for the Future Pledge, colleges and universities choose to be climate leaders. Participating schools pledge to replace 20% of animal products with delicious plant-based alternatives and reduce campus food waste by 20%. This sends a powerful message to the campus community and can inspire other schools to take action.
WHY CAMPUSES SHOULD TAKE THE PLEDGE
One of the leading causes of the climate crisis is our food system. If you add up everything that goes in to our food system: production, processing, transporting, consumption and waste, it accounts for up to a third of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions.
This commitment is good for your:
Animal Agriculture. According to the FAO, animal agriculture accounts for 14.5% of all GHG emissions. This is 50-80% of the entire food system’s contribution to GHG emissions. It is also largely responsible for depleting our natural resources through deforestation, water consumption and pollution, and ocean dead zones. Click here to learn more about about the toll of animal agriculture.
According to one “foodprint” calculator, if a college campus of 30,000 students swamped out meat for plant-based options it could save approximately:
1.4 billion gallons of water and 9 million lbs of CO2!
Food Waste. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that food loss and waste account for 8.2% of the total human-made greenhouse gas emissions. College campuses are large contributors to food waste. The average college student wastes around 142 lbs of food each year, and according to the Food Recovery Network, colleges as a whole throw out 22 million lbs of uneaten food each year.
Did you know?
In the US, we waste between 30-40% of our food supply. That’s:
- 133 billion pounds of food
- A total monetary loss of $162 billion
- 141 trillion calories per year
Read more about food waste here.
Meat is becoming more expensive. The 2019 United Nations’ global meat price index climbed 10%, its highest level since 2015. In the U.S., the Consumer Price Index¹ for restaurant purchases is 3.2% higher than it was in July 2018. According to a study² in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Oxford faculty estimate that if people continue to follow current trends of meat consumption, instead of incorporating more plant-based foods, it could cost the U.S. between $197 billion and $289 billion each year—and the global economy up to $1.6 trillion—by 2050.
Under this trajectory, food availability will become even more challenging around the world. Read more about food security and justice here.
A balanced diet, high in plant-based foods is good for student health. According to the American Heart Association, eating less meat decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke and many cancers.
It is easy!
JOIN: In the name of Earth Day 2020, become a climate leader and take the 20/20 Pledge to replace 20% of animal products with delicious plant-based foods and reduce food waste by 20%.
EAT: Provide students with delicious climate-friendly meals.
SHARE: Invite other campuses to take the 20/20 pledge.
So you want to help your school become more sustainable? Great! We have plenty of resources to help you along the way. Check out our Every Bite Counts toolkit to learn about the connection between what we eat and our environment. We have provided resources to empower you to use food as a climate solution on campus.
If you are on this page, you have already taken an important step towards leading the way in fighting climate change for future generations.
Taking the 20/20 Foodprints Pledge is good for the environment, your budget and student health.
Once you take the pledge you will need to find the best program to fit your campus. Earth Day Network and its Foodprints for the Future Coalition can help. Here are some resources our coalition members use to help campuses, hospitals and cities reduce their carbon “foodprint”: