It’s hard to stand up and take action at time. Especially when you feel frustrated and it seems like your one voice won’t change a thing. However, today, I have a great example of how YOU, one green parent can actually make a huge difference in your child’s world, even if you think your actions don’t matter.
In the past… school lunches have sucked and few cared
People, in my opinion, have been fairly uninspired about poor quality school lunches over the years. I know this, because way back in 2009 I wrote about the sketchy meat in school lunches and even though that post got a lot of traffic, no one really seemed to care and I got some lovely emails telling me how I should be quiet because school lunches weren’t that bad (sigh). I wasn’t the only blogger back then writing about icky lunches. However, the other bloggers writing about it, were pretty much like me – a much smaller piece of the social media puzzle than large news sites.
Still, myself, along with a handful of other bloggers, just kept on writing about terrible school lunches through the years. Nothing much changed. School lunches remained gross, and nasty pink slime and other icky meats continued to be served to our kids.
It seemed sort of hopeless.
Then… it got a little better
When the brilliant Food Revolution aired in 2010, host Jamie Oliver showed America what nasty pink slime meat was, I thought for sure things would change right away in schools, but nope. Things again, stayed much the same and Food Revolution was canceled so some stupid reality could take its place (great). Hopeless times 100.
Now… it’s gotten a lot better
Things are looking up, and it’s because of parents. On March 5th news of pink slime meat in school lunches broke (yup, again). I also wrote about it again, but not with much passion. I didn’t think that the March 5th news would change anything. I mean, we’ve known about gross school lunches for all these years and most people seem to have a “so what” mindset about it.
Luckily, this time, I was wrong. For whatever reason, this March, every news media site out there jumped on the pink slime story. You couldn’t flip an Internet page without seeing this story. Better yet, parents actually became outraged enough to do something about it.
Parents and others signed online petitions in record numbers and parents started calling schools in droves with comments, concerns and questions about school lunches and pink slime.
The result… actual change!
In mid March, (less than 2 weeks after the story broke) the USDA, feeling overwhelming pressure, announced that by next fall, schools would be allowed to opt out of pink slime meat.
Obviously the chance to opt out is nowhere near as good as a pink slime ban. It’s a decent step, but not perfect, plus doesn’t even go into effect until fall. Thankfully though, parents just kept on calling schools during the month, demanding that pink slime be taken off the menu, and astoundingly, many schools listened.
Even though the USDA opt-out doesn’t go into affect until fall, many schools are voluntarily opting out now. From New York to Louisiana to Maine to my little corner of the world, schools have listened to parents, stepped up and attempted to stop the pink slime madness.
You do matter… go create change!
This is a stunning example of what can happen when everyone gets on board to halt sketchy practices. Sure, in one way, it’s extremely frustrating that school lunch change has taken this long (years and years). However, what this story shows is that change doesn’t have to take all those years.
This time around, it literally took just weeks to make a significant change to a major government organization (the USDA) and it’s all because parents and the media got mad enough to do so.
Your voice matters. If you have a blog, that blog’s voice matters. If you take a moment to make a call, make a statement, make a demand or tell one other person about an important issue, you can make a difference. Think about other issues like unsafe toys, BPA, toxic schools, fake organics and more – you can speak up and eventually change will come.
But as this March’s pink slime issue shows, it’s the combined voice that matters most. If everyone quits talking, quits taking action and just sits back and waits for change, it won’t come. Today, decide that you as a person can contribute to a movement. If there’s something you care about, keep talking, keep signing petitions, keep revolting, and the world will change, for the better, for our kids.