Author: Isabella, Student at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, NY
In ELA class, we have been learning about how our actions impact the earth negatively. The commitments that we are doing connects to the school’s mission, because our mission is to help make the world more sustainable. My commitment is to give up all types of meat for the whole month of May. I chose this because giving up meat is very difficult for me. This is because I usually ate meat everyday for lunch and dinner. In MELS we have expeditions and case studies, our expedition is called Price Of Progress and our case study in ELA is called My Story Of Stuff. We learned how our actions can make a difference in the world. Eating meat has not only an impact on my carbon footprint, but also on the earth. All of our classes are connected to each other. We are learning about sustainability in all classes. Now, let’s get down to my story…
The first week of my commitment was extremely hard. I was very tempted to sneak a piece of meat into my sandwich or onto my plate at dinner. As days went by I wasn’t getting those temptations, but the savory taste of meat always stayed in my head. Since I couldn’t eat meat I tried a lot of foods with tofu or soy in it. For example, one thing I tried was tofu bacon. Since I will always remember the taste of real bacon, the tofu bacon didn’t taste very good.
Another thing I tasted was a soy sausage. I didn’t like it, but I would eat it again if I had to. My family loves meat and we have a lot of BBQs. So, when we go to the barbeques everyone always says, “Isabella do you want a hot dog?” It always kills me to say no, and then I have to explain my reason. The only part I like about that is explaining. This is because no one thinks that what they eat actually affects the earth and their carbon footprint. It’s really important because my family and I now know that our actions can negatively impact the earth. For example, www.Emissionschart.com says “ Chicken releases 6.9 kilograms of emission, beef releases 27 kilograms, pork releases 12.1 kilograms, and lamb releases 39.2 kilograms of emissions.” I found this to be a problem because everyone in my family eats these types of meats. Another puzzling fact I read on Meat Consumption, “ To make a quarter-pound hamburger it takes 1,036 kilograms of fossil fuel energy.” This connects to what I’m learning in my Science class. In Science we are learning about fossil fuels and how they affect the earth negatively and positively. In this case it’s showing a negative effect.
Another connection is to Social Studies. How would it make you feel knowing that by you eating the hamburger you’re slowly killing the earth? When I learned this I never wanted to touch a hamburger again. It’s sad to think that something so delicious is bad for the earth. Even though I had a wonderful time with this commitment, it was also hard for my family. I say this because they always had to cook something extra so that I would have something to eat. Besides that, my family was very supportive of me throughout my journey.
The experience that this commitment has given me is incredible. I’ve learned so much from it, the big picture that I learned is that one action has a bigger effect than anyone can imagine. In the end, when I reflect on this commitment I really think that I have become more flexible regarding what I eat. This commitment was definitely worth it, and now I know that not only do my actions reflect on other people, but also on the earth. Since I had to explain to everyone about my commitment, I think that I can make a big impact, because if someone in my family might also do this, and if they talk to other people about it, it would slowly spread the message. I have learned a lot throughout this expedition and I hope that you have learned something too.