Why we have adopted “Meatless Monday”

Monday is known worldwide as a day to make changes, make decisions, start transformations and putting awareness into practice.At be.Living, every Monday now is “Meatless Monday”, as we join a worldwide campaign to promote a different way of eating than most of us are used to.

The idea is that at least one day a week, we can switch from eating animal protein to eating vegetable protein, experimenting with new flavors, expanding our understanding of nutrition and food health and, above all, making an effective contribution to preserving life on the planet.

The aim of this movement, which has been taking place in more than 40 countries since 2003, is to spark reflection on how our personal choices affect the collective—more specifically, on how animal-based food impacts the environment, human health and animal welfare.

*Source: Brazilian Vegetarian Society

“Meat consumption is one of the main causes of environmental impact in terms of climate change, water consumption and deforestation,” said Livia Ribeiro, an environmental engineer at Reconectta and a sustainability consultant for be.Living.

Sustainability is a fundamental concept within be.Living’s Political Educational Project.Through different experiences and educational practices, we strive to provide an educational experience that promotes broad, critical, immersive and effective sustainability, making the school a space where we can nurture truly conscious relationships with the world.Driven by these values and mindful of our responsibility as educators, we decided to implement Meatless Monday at be.Living in 2019.

At the time, we put the idea into practice in a very careful and democratic way, with proper knowledge of the facts, relying on the expert help of Ms. Ribeiro, our environmental engineer.We welcomed our students, their families and our staff to a discussion focused on statistics, highlighting the real impact that collective action like this can have on the environment.

In addition to holding many conversations and sharing studies and information in the most participatory way possible, we also worked very carefully to introduce this new food culture to students in a pleasurable and meaningful way, as a form of learning.With the help of the school nutritionist, the children understood the reason for the project and, a while after its implementation, we held a new vote and the children once again came out in favor of Meatless Monday.The acceptance of new dishes has been, and continues to be, developed on a daily basis, with active participation of the children, who provide feedback on what they like or don’t like.Observing their acceptance, meal by meal, we are testing ways to add more than one vegetable protein—in addition to beans, which are already on the school’s staple diet—so that they can try them out.With this gentle approach, we are constantly trying to identify what the children like and, based on this perception, provide them with sophisticated, beautiful, tasty and appetizing dishes.

It’s been 5 years of Meatless Mondays at be.Living.Meanwhile, what we are seeing around the world are increasingly intense and frequent climatic phenomena, such as heat waves, storms and severe droughts, due to the worsening of the ‘climate crisis’—a term used to describe changes in the planet’s average temperature as a result of unsustainable human activity.

“Today, the biggest challenge we are facing as humanity is the climate emergency.It is essential that we look at this issue both in terms of knowledge and, above all, in terms of action.A school is a social space where we gather to study and practice, where people learn and live experiences that they can take back to their homes and communities.I see be.Living as a school that takes on the responsibility of bringing up these sustainability issues, awakening a critical vision in children.It’s not just about understanding what’s going on, but, from this critical view, thinking about how to contribute effectively to resolving these issues.By definition, school is a place for collective action, and the challenges facing the planet today concern all of humanity and can only be tackled collectively, through conscious and joint action.Meatless Monday is one of these actions,” said Ms. Ribeiro.

As a school, we affirm that we are looking at the climate crisis in a responsible manner, reflecting, deepening our knowledge and thinking about creating opportunities so that children can, based on this value—i.e., sustainability—be agents of transformation on the planet, making decisions in the future based on everything they are experiencing today and, why not, adopting this new worldview to inspire change in us adults—as educators and families.Join us next week for a Meatless Monday!

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