This coming year I’m going to be an Eco Rep at my university through our Office of Sustainability. The mission of the Eco Reps program is to effectively educate and empower students within their residential communities to act as environmental stewards, while simultaneously providing opportunities for involvement in campus sustainability. The Eco Reps program is interested in investing in our most valuable resource for positive cultural change: our students.
Through this program, I’m going to:
- Learn about sustainability and environmental issues (I definitely do this already, but I’ll have a group to do it with!)
- Conduct sustainability-related outreach and plan and promote educational sustainability-related programming
- Engage peers in creating a sustainable community within the residence hall and connect students to important resources on campus
- Create important mentor-mentee relationships with residential students, many of whom are freshmen, transfer students, or international students.
- Collect concerns and questions regarding resource management and conservation issues on campus
- Directly improve the Ole Miss community by increasing environmental awareness and generating a sense of community around environmental stewardship
I am really excited and so thankful for this opportunity! I am counting on you guys to give me any advice you may have! Have any of y’all participated in a similar program? Or wished you could have? Let me know! 🙂
Like I’ve said before, some easy environmentalism tips aren’t so easy where I am from. When I was younger, I never really liked the taste of meat and would much rather eat potatoes! I would unknowingly go days without meat and thought about or even attempted going vegetarian many times before.
One day, I was on YouTube for hours on end like I frequently was in my high school days! I would always get lost and end up watching videos I wouldn’t have ever thought about watching. I saw a video by Bonny Rebecca. I can’t find the actual video that inspired me, but this is close. In the following weeks, I watched vegan documentaries and videos back to back to back. This included Forks Over Knives (1 hr 36 min), Cowspiracy (1 hr 30 min), Authentic Food Choices Ted Talk (19 min) Gary Yourofsky’s Best Speech Ever (49 min), 101 Reasons to Go Vegan (1 hr 9 min), and Food, Inc (1 hr 33 min) on YouTube or Netflix. There are definitely more, but those are the ones I remember. Some of them can be scary or gory so if that bothers me, either ask me or search for which ones will be better for you.
But after only one day of the vegan marathon I was on, I stopped eating animal products. I, as expected, have messed up since then. We aren’t perfect of course! But I think I am making a big difference! It’s important to make sure you aren’t letting the fear of slipping up stop you from making a big difference!
If I could go back, I probably wouldn’t have jumped in head first because it’s a lot easier to stick to a habit if you adapt to it at a normal rate! I’ve found better plans that my friends and family have found more successful!
- Transitioning One Day at a Time: This method would be being vegan (or vegetarian or whatever your goal may be) on one day a week until that is normal and then adding one more day a week and so on. You may get to 7 very quickly and be vegan! You also might do less forever, but you will still make a big difference!
- Transitioning One Meal at a Time: My most recommended is being vegan at lunch first. This way if you are craving something, you can have that food for dinner that night! I also think breakfast can be hard for a lot of people! Even if you stick with lunch forever, that’s awesome!
- Transitioning Through: This is a method commonly recommended. It includes eliminating certain foods at a time. First may be red meat, then being pescatarian, then vegetarian, then vegetarian without dairy, and then vegan! Like the other methods, each step you take is better than the first and if you stop, it’s still better than never starting! This is my least favorite of the three, though, because you don’t necessarily figure out vegan meals you like until the very end. At the same time, it works for people so if you like the idea, try it!
I think it’s also important to spread the word to family and friends (check out one of mine). Passion is something you keep by giving it away.
I really recommend everyone watches some of these videos and documentaries simply to be familiar with the issues. I also think anyone can benefit from decreasing animal products and increasing whole foods! Let me know if y’all have any questions!