North Atlanta Students Seek to Ban the Beef


Dennis Racket

Eat More Veggies: Juniors Samantha Stewart and Hannah Hume have a beef with beef. The pair are part of a movement seeking more non-meat options for students in the North Atlanta cafeteria.

Have you ever thought about the implications of the production of beef on the world? Many haven’t, but it might be time that they should. A large amount of students aren’t aware of the environmental impact of the production of beef. However, some students here at North Atlanta have decided to take a stand and make a difference.

Junior Cole Bickerstaff and freshman Sydney Heaton have become very involved in trying to make a change in the NAHS lunch-line menu options. Currently, only three of the menu items contain beef, which is often a shock to students. “Many people think that tacos and other meals have beef in it when actually, it’s turkey,” said Heaton. “The school has already been great about substituting some beef options with turkey but we are just asking them to change the last three: the hamburger, cheese burger, and salisbury steak,” she continued. While they know that students love their beef, they argue that this small change would greatly impact the environment.

This group of determined students understand that it is unreasonable to ask all students attending APS schools to give up beef, so their simple solution is to get rid of the slim, three menu items that include beef. In response to this change, their hope is to replace the beef options with meals students would enjoy more. With this change, the lunch line would test new options by giving out alternative beef meals to find what the students would enjoy. “To produce just one hamburger patty, it takes 400 gallons of water in addition to having the same global warming impact as driving 10 miles,” said Bickerstaff. “Many people don’t realize how much their ‘love for beef’ hurts the environment, and thats why were speaking out,” he continued.

Overall, their goal is to reduce the environmental impact our generation has. If they are able to implement this change, it will cause a reduction our fresh water usage by at least 86 million gallons each year, which is equivalent to 30 water barrels per student. Additionally, we would save at least 4.4 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, which would be the same as having every student and staff member at NAHS not drive to school everyday for a year.

To make these changes, all we would have to do is substitute the three beef options for a simple alternative such as chicken. These students have strictly advocated for the riddance of beef for the last several weeks and have already gained over 300 signatures on their petition. They are continuing to advocate for this change and aim to extend their reach over all APS schools.

This group is continuing their effort by attempting to gain more signatures to their petition and more followers to their movement. So, regardless of if you’re a beef lover, please feel free to jump in behind them and advocate for this small change to make a big difference.