To the editor:

Thank you to Bill Bauer for highlighting my office’s Meatless in March Challenge for city staff in his most recent column. While he mischaracterized it as a “go vegan” campaign, it is actually a fun opportunity for employees to help the environment and their health by eating a little bit less meat a few times each week.

And his dismissal of the campaign overlooked some important points. As Bill knows, California is in the midst of a multi-year drought and water is particularly tight in our region, so every drop counts. We want both our city staff and the community to know that every kilogram of beef that goes into the hamburgers that they enjoy requires 100,000 liters of water to produce. Compare that to 900 liters for a kilogram of wheat or 500 liters for the same amount of potatoes and you get the idea why this is so important. Production of meat also generates much higher greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental pollutants than plant-based foods.

Hence, Meatless in March — a little awareness about your daily choices can go a long way towards improving the environment and your health. Mr. Bauer often comments on the fact that Santa Monica strives to be a leader in sustainability.

We also believe that our employees can lead by example, and indeed they have. The staff who participated in the Meatless in March Challenge have collectively saved more than 1,330,000 gallons of water, enough to fill a football field over 2 feet deep, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 6,000 pounds, in just one month of eating a little less meat. If everyone followed their lead, we would all be a bit better off.

For more information on sustainable food and the environment, you can visit our website at sustainablesm.org/food.

Dean Kubani
City of Santa Monica Sustainability Manager