I can help the earth by eating less meat?! 

Have students challenge your school and/or community to eat meatless on Mondays! Incentivize participants to bring Meatless meals to school and educate them on the environmental benefits. You can even include small prizes for your participants!

Toolkit Details

NGSS

This toolkit address the following Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) within the Performance Expectations of NGSS for Grades: K-2 and 3-5

  • Asking Questions and Defining a Problem
  • Planning and Carrying out Investigations
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • Obtaining Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Why It’s Important

Research shows that livestock production contributes more greenhouse emissions and consumes more resources than most plant-based foods.

What You Will Accomplish

Students will help the earth by eating meatless! Eating less meat benefits the health of the planet in many ways. The production and transportation of livestock produces large amounts of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming.

Additionally, meat and dairy products use significantly more water than plant-based products do.

Teacher Project Plan Step-by-Step

Step 1: Determine Participants

Use our Meatless Monday Sign Up Sheet to create the group of students who will lead the campaign.

  • A small group of students (1-6 students)? Educate your class on the benefits of eating Meatless
  • A larger club/class (6 – 24 students)? Educate your grade level on the benefits of eating Meatless
  • Is your whole school participating? Educate your entire school on how you can help the environment by eating Meatless

Step 2: Set Learning Objectives

Analysis

  • Students will analyze what meals can help reduce their carbon footprint
  • Students will analyze meals before and after the campaign to see how much meat is being consumed

Project Management

  • Students will learn how to manage an educational campaign and engage with an audience
  • Students will create an agenda to manage a successful campaign
  • Students will exercise effective communication and accountability

Evaluation and Assessment

  • Students will track and evaluate the information they have collected 
    • Examples
      • How many people students reach
      • How many resources did students save?

Step 3: Educate Students on the the Effects of their Energy Consumption

The resources provided can be shown as a slideshow or printed out as individual worksheets for students to learn.

Education Materials: Why Should you Reduce Your Meat Consumption?

Research shows that livestock production contributes more greenhouse emissions and consumes more resources than most plant-based foods. The resources provided can be shown as a slideshow or printed out as individual worksheets for students to learn.

Producing meat uses a lot of our earth’s limited natural resources that we count on for survival. For instance, it requires large amounts of water to grow the food that is fed to livestock in addition to the water supply needed to raise the livestock. A 1/4 pound burger uses the same amount of water that could be used to supply 1,700 people for a day (425 gallons)! [1]

Producing meat is very land intensive with millions of acres of forests being cleared every year for cattle production. Seventy-five percent of Earth’s agricultural land is used for livestock production. [1]

On top of all of this, greenhouse gasses are emitted during every phase of meat production contributing to global warming and the climate crisis. According to UN FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations), global livestock production creates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Eating one less serving of beef each Monday for a year saves the same amount of CO2 emissions released when driving 348 miles in a vehicle. [1]

Watch these videos to learn how “green” your diet!

Why Your Diet is a Social Justice Issue

Industrial food production, also known as animal factory farms, creates numerous environmental/health-related issues within the regions they occupy; this includes pollution, land runoff, emissions, etc. More often than not, disenfranchised communities reside in close proximity to these industrial complexes, which can lead to various health issues as a result of production outputs. For instance, factory farms include massive lagoons filled with tons of excrement that can enter the water supply and smell so terribly that neighbors can’t spend time outside. Also, many of the people involved in processing industrially produced meat work in incredibly unsafe conditions and are underpaid. Learn more about the environmental justice issues related to the production of factory-farmed meat.

Step 4: Pre-Activity Reflection Questions

Reflection and Educator Observation Questions

Use the following questions to guide students and reflect on what they’ve learned. Provided questions can be accessed in slideshow or worksheet format.

Reflection Questions

  • How does meat consumption affect the environment? 
  • What are ways to reduce meat consumption and increase consumption of plant-based food? 
  • Why is it important to eat a more plant-based diet?
  • What effect does livestock production have on global resources? List a few examples.

Educator Observation

  • What answers did you hear from the reflection questions?

Step 5: Take Action – How to Start a Meatless Monday Campaign

1. Decide Who’s Participating

Who’s on your Campaign team? What roles will each student have?

  • Educators: Educators will inform students how and why students should eat Meatless meals.
  • Spotters: Spotters will find students around campus who brought Meatless meals for lunch and record the amount of Meatless meals they find around campus.
  • Marketers: Marketers will create content such as fliers about going Meatless on Mondays

2. Choose a Target Audience

Who do you want to go Meatless on Mondays?

  1. A Class 
  2. A Grade Level 
  3. The Whole School
  4. Your Community (this can include your school/parents/other residents in your community)

3. Educate Your Peers

Have students educate other students by conducting a walking assembly. Educators will visit classrooms and present information on the benefits of eating meatless. Furthermore, educators should provide examples of Meatless Meals for students to eat during lunch. Use our Meatless Monday Walking Assembly Script as a guide.

4. Design Your Flyers

Have “marketer” students create flyers to post around campus announcing your Meatless Monday campaign a week prior to the date you plan on launching.

Create flyers by utilizing design websites such as Canva or Google Slides. Make sure to include education sections to inform your classmates on the benefits of going Meatless!

5. Launch Your First Meatless Monday!

  • Using the Meatless Monday Tracker Sheet, have Spotters walk around campus and record the amount of students who are eating a Meatless lunch. Reward students with a sticker or stamp to congratulate their efforts of going meatless 
  • During the Meatless Monday campaign, Educators can walk around campus and inform other students on the benefits of going Meatless.
  • It’s important to never make a student feel bad about bringing a meal that contains meat. Even one food item that is Meatless should be celebrated! Reward all improvements with praise.

6. Stay on Schedule

Create a weekly schedule to switch roles. Help inform people of the effects of their diets and encourage them to participate in your Meatless Monday!

7. Repeat

  • Repeat for however many weeks you wish your campaign to last. 
  • Going the extra mile: If you would like to take your Meatless Monday project to the next level, have students get in contact with your school’s food distributor to increase the amount of Meatless meals available.

Step 6: Post-Activity Reflection Questions

Student Reflection and Real World Application Questions

Student Reflection

  • How many people participated in your Meatless Monday campaign? Use the statistics that the spotters collected to measure participation.
  • How many resources (relative) was your campaign able to conserve/how much greenhouse gas were you able to prevent from going into the atmosphere? 
  • Did participating in this campaign change the way you/your team view food? How? 
  • How will this campaign change the future habits of your team/its participants?

Real World Application

What will change in your life now that you have completed this project?

Step 7: Report Students’ Impact

Compile all the data that your teams gathered and complete the Meatless Monday Wrap-Up Form.

Provided Resources

Congrats on completing the Meatless Monday Eco-Toolkit! 

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