From Arizona to Oklahoma this week, college students will be eating more plants, handing out condoms and showing their support for a sustainable lifestyle — all to help save the lives of the world’s wildlife.
The idea, dubbed Wildlife Week (Oct. 5 – 11), is designed to help students make the connection between meat consumption, reproductive health and the future of our precious planet.
“The connection between eating veggie burgers and saving wolves isn’t immediately intuitive to everyone,” says Jennifer Molidor, Senior Food Campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity, the org behind the effort. “So we wanted to bring that connection home – that meat production is the single most environmentally destructive industry on the planet.”
Wildlife Week is the newest arm of the Center’s Take Extinction Off Your Plate, campaign. It’s worth noting that the Center is the only major environmental organization with a full-time program dedicated to addressing the connection between human population growth, overconsumption (particularly meat consumption) and threats to endangered species.
“The Center really wanted to get students involved in this effort, and so we have provided tools to help this campaign, like a Cheap & Easy meatless diet guide that helps students find and create affordable, delicious, and Earth-friendly foods,” Molidor adds. They’ve also created student-centric materials for distribution, and online tools.
Sex is a major part of the equation too, says Molidor, and the campaign uses condoms to get its point across.
“… our Campus Wild Action Kits include Endangered Species Condoms as well to drive home that message that food and sex — how many of us there are and how we consume resources — is important concern for future generations,” she explains. Thus far, the team has distributed more than 600,000 on college campuses.
Wildlife Week events are happening as we speak at more than 100 colleges nationwide, including the University of Arizona; the University of California, Davis; the University of Colorado; Emory University; Indiana University, Bloomington; Ohio State University; Oklahoma State University; Reed College; Rutgers University; and Texas A & M.
“As a larger campaign, Take Extinction Off Your Plate is building great momentum,” Molidor adds. “Millennials are especially interested in vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, and organic diets and it’s a great time to get people engaged in reducing or eliminating their consumption of meat — for their health, for the farmed animals, for wildlife, and for the planet.”