Petition South Dakota Secretary of Education Ben Jones to adopt a Meatless Monday program

As the South Dakota Secretary of Education, it is your duty to act in the interest of your students’ health. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 people between the ages 6 and 19 has obesity. Research has shown that shifting to a more plant-based diet reduces the risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Similarly, following a diet with lower meat consumption and more plant-rich meals can lead to lower blood pressure and healthier weight. By adopting a Meatless Monday program and only serving plant-based meals in school cafeterias on Mondays, you can ensure the health of your students in the long run.

Health is not the only reason to adopt a Meatless Monday program, however, as meat production in the United States is one of the leading causes of carbon emissions that are harmful to our environment. If everyone in the US went vegetarian for JUST one day, we could prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2.5 Although the public school system in South Dakota only consists of 135,500 students, the impact this could have in a school year, where students go vegetarian one day a week for 25 weeks cannot be overstated. By adopting standards to teach your students about climate change, you have acknowledged that this is a serious issue in today’s world. Now it’s time to act on it.

We urge you to adopt a Meatless Monday program for all public schools in South Dakota, for the health of your students, and for the health of our planet