Meat Free 7 Days to fight climate change and stay healthy
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Meat Free 7 Days to fight climate change and stay healthy
  • Yoo Seon-hwa
  • 승인 2012.03.29 21:09
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With growing concerns about global climate change, several campaigns highlight and encourage social habits that influence the environment. An Ewha graduate, Park Seo-yoon (’11, Journalism) started a small but strong campaign to cut meat consumption, called Meat Free 7 Days (MF7). Park started the campaign in November 2011 as part of her work in the United Nations Environment Programme Angle, a group of university students working for environmental protection.
 MF7 tries to persuade people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by consuming less meat.
According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of total global greenhouse gas emissions, making it the single biggest contributor of global warming. Livestock accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gasses, more than all the world’s vehicle gas emissions.
 “When I first organized the rules and contents of MF7, I did not expect there would be so many people concerned about global warming and the environment,” Park said.
Participation in MF7 is not compulsory but one month after starting MF7, more than 60 people asked for participation. Now, 165 people are working on MF7.
 “After participation in MF7 I realized how much my life was exposed to unhealthy food,”  Park Hyung-don (Hanyang University, 4) said. “However, having one designated meat free week, I could go to the heart of the most important issues in my life, which are environment and health.”
“Sharing great menus composed of vegetables and fruits and posting my diet for a day always lets me feel that “a week without meat” is not a big deal.”
Members of MF7 vary from high school students to workers in their 30s. Age and gender have nothing to do with participation. From 2012 people under high school are not allowed to participate in MF7. Members share tips on how to easily prepare meatless meals for a week, post pictures of fresh vegetables, fruits, and upload video recipes of meatless food on their Facebook group page.
Most members of MF7 confess that it was not easy at first to skip meat in their lives even for a week.
“Frankly speaking, when I first decided to participate in MF7, I was not sure if I could endure a week without meat not only because I enjoy eating meat but also because I have to go to so many meetings at which we usually order samgyopsal, Korean-style bacon, and beef,” said Park Jeong-ah, a member of MF7.
“However even my co-workers started to encourage my meatless week and sent me a lot of pictures and information on how to work on a meatless week. They sometimes go to vegetarian restaurants to support my goal.”
Since most people would agree that foregoing the burger for just a week is not asking too much, MF7 has also gained acceptance from foreigners.
“I found out about the MF7 movement from Arirang TV, since it had a special report about MF7 and it really caught my interest because I am very conscious about helping our planet,” Wendy Gómez said. “I am definitely going to participate next month and onward because I believe in MF7. I believe MF7 helps the participants and also the whole world.”
“I believe we can all make a difference and save the planet. I am glad MF7 is helping us make it.”
MF7 also sets rules to help people with their meatless weeks. Although participants are discouraged from consuming meat, they are allowed to eat dairy products such as cheese or milk, eggs, fish, seafood, and other products that contain protein.
“MF7 is not a group of people who want to lose weight or become vegetarians,” said Park Seo-yoon, the founder of MF7.
“We are working to slow global warming by reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emitted from farm animals. But we strictly believe that eating, picking out and buying meat are all the same as consuming meat.”
Members who eat meat without knowing should confess on Facebook and extend their meatless week by one day. People who purposely break their pledge or quit midway will be deprived of their next participation.
MF7 plans to have a Meat Free Party and hold a campaign persuading middle and high school cafeterias to make a meat-free meal at least once a month.
To participate, visit MF7’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/groups/meatfree7days). Those who want to receive MF7’s newsletters should send an email (meatfree7days@gmail.com) including name, date of birth, name of school or company.

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