Noah Gittell '98 Contributes to Rye Country Day's Sustainability Efforts

At a recent RCDS-hosted dinner and discussion for the Fairchester Schools Sustainability Alliance, faculty and parents involved in sustainability efforts at other Fairchester schools were impressed by the RCDS cafeteria, including its food sorting systems and composting strategies.

The evening featured a presentation from Noah Gittell '98, director of philanthropy for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Noah discussed the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet and suggested steps that schools might take to encourage students, families, faculty, and staff to shift their dietary habits. Some statistics that Noah shared included:

  • It takes 1,000 gallons of water to ultimately produce one gallon of milk;
  • The water to produce the meat for one hamburger is equivalent to the water that an average American uses for showering over two months;
  • The ecological footprint of a person following a vegan diet compared to the footprint of a meat-lover includes 50 percent less carbon dioxide, 1/11th of the oil, 1/13th of the water, and 1/18th of the land.

Noah also suggested that those in the audience all think more deliberately about food choices - Individuals have multiple opportunities a day to choose the food they will put in their bodies and to think about the effect that those food choices have on others.

After Noah’s presentation, a short discussion followed, as participants took advantage of the collective expertise in the room to consider strategies for changing conversations about food in local independent schools.

Thank you to Noah Gittell for speaking and to Headmaster Scott Nelson for his continued support of the RCDS Sustainability Initiative.