CUHK Launches Campus-Wide Vegetarian Campaign to Promote Low-Carbon and Healthy Diet
Prof. Joseph Sung Shares Green Diet Experience
To promote the health and environmental benefits of a vegetarian diet to its members, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) joined hands with the social enterprise Green Monday again to organize ‘Veggie Fun @ CUHK’, a campaign featuring a series of promotional activities from March to April. The launching ceremony of ‘Veggie Fun @ CUHK’ was held on campus today (13 March) and was officiated at by Mr. K.S. Wong, Secretary for the Environment, the HKSAR Government, and Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK.
CUHK began supporting Green Monday’s ‘Meatless Monday Movement’ as early as 2013 and held various activities on campus to promote a vegetarian diet and low-carbon lifestyle. Later, in collaboration with Green Monday and a charity organization, CUHK gathered over 30 ‘CU Green Buddies’ and distributed free vegetarian lunchboxes to around 300 low-income families and seniors. Through this community outreach event, the volunteers helped to show our care for people in need as well as raise public awareness about the health and environmental benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Currently, CUHK has over 30,000 students and staff. If all chose to go vegetarian one day per week, it would reduce carbon emissions by around 6,400 tonnes per year. This is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by 280,000 trees in a year, which can make a significant difference in curbing global warming.
Prof. Joseph Sung said, ‘As early as 2013, CUHK started promoting “Green Monday” by encouraging campus caterers to provide more vegetarian options in restaurants and canteens, engaging them via training workshops on vegetarian cooking, promoting a campus-wide “veggie map”, raising awareness via veggie-related games and distributing vegetarian lunchboxes to those in need. In 2016, CUHK’s first vegan canteen opened and it is now easier for us all to choose a healthier diet. By now, I’ve become accustomed to a diet consisting of mostly vegetables and little meat, which has been great for my energy levels and spirits!’
Mr. K.S. Wong said, ‘The Government announced Hong Kong's Climate Action Plan 2030+ in January this year. The Plan responds to the Paris Agreement’s aim to keep global temperature increase to less than 2°C by 2050 and outlines Hong Kong’s carbon emission reduction target, our action timeline and road map. It also calls on all sectors in society to promote a low-carbon and healthy lifestyle, to walk the talk. A low-carbon lifestyle requires making choices to use our resources frugally in regard to what we wear and eat, how we live and travel, and more. A diet of mostly vegetables and little meat can help reduce the carbon footprint of our food, just as treasuring food reduces waste and cuts our carbon emissions as well.’
At the launching ceremony, Prof. Joseph Sung and Mr. K.S. Wong checked out a bicycle-powered blender in a ‘Smoothie Ride’ activity, and provided a ‘feet-on’ demonstration of churning vegetables and fruits into a fresh and healthy smoothie drink. They also sampled various delicious vegetarian snacks with the other guests.
In support of the ‘Veggie Fun @ CUHK’ campaign, 11 restaurants and canteens on campus have pledged to provide two or more types of vegetarian dishes to diners every Monday, as well as display materials to promote a vegetarian diet in their outlets. Various events of ‘Veggie Fun @ CUHK’ will be held from March to April, including: sharing of vegetarian dish information on online platforms; vegetarian cuisine tasting; voting on favourite vegetarian dishes and favourite ‘Veggie Fun @ CUHK’ canteens/restaurants; an exhibition and an invitation to all students and staff to become a ‘Green Monday Fellow’ by pledging to go vegetarian one day per week. The first 1,000 students and staff successfully registered as ‘Green Monday Fellows’ will receive ‘Green Meal Coupons’ that are redeemable for vegetarian meals.