Eating lamb shank in New Zealand is one of the quintessential experiences of that country. Everyone knows there are more sheep in New Zealand than there are people. However, on my last night in New Zealand, after my Beyond the Classroom Experience studying sustainability there, that lamb shank represented a lot more to me.
That piece of meat came from a farm in New Zealand, like the one I had visited weeks earlier. It was raised on the rolling, green hills of the nation, cared for by Kiwis, as New Zealanders affectionately call themselves. That lamb grew up in the shadow of mountains, thrust up by the tectonic forces that shake the islands. It never knew the factory farms common back in the states. That lamb came from a place and a people where the environment stands all important. It came from a place where sustainability is forefront and present. It was cooked and plated next to local, seasonal vegetables in a restaurant lit by 80% renewable electricity. The clear, blue water that the heards of sheep drink from is the same water that powers hydro-electric dams and ripples in the wind that turns electric turbines.
To eat lamb shank in New Zealand for me is to recognize all that I had learned in my time there, and all the work that is yet to be done. What a wonderful time to embrace sustainability as my Global Challenge; it’s time to get to work!