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UCLA goes green

April 13, 2009 |  8:33 am

Cattle-raising is a major source of greenhouse gases across the globe: Forests are razed for range land, thus losing carbon-absorbing trees, and cows belch methane.

Now UCLA dining services is doing its part to prevent global warming by starting out the spring quarter with an initiative known as beefless Thursdays. It is removing  beef from dining hall meals once a week.  According to Robert Gilbert, the sustainability coordinator for housing and hospitality services, removing beef just once a week from the dining hall menus can save about 1,000 pounds of beef and 1,500,000 gallons of water and promote healthier dining alternatives.

Waste Watchers, a subgroup of UCLA's student group E3, is also spreading environmental awareness by weighing all the wasted food in the dining halls. By organizing volunteers to measure the amount of uneaten food in garbage bins, the group hopes to educate students about the amount of waste they create every meal and encourage them to change their habits.

With about 50 sustainability experiments on campus this year alone, UCLA is joining a widespread green movement on campuses nationally and encouraging students to help out with the university's climate action plan. The 10 UC campuses are aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  UCLA hopes to meet that goal by 2012.

-- Stephanie Chang