For Cesar Muro, animals are a vital part of our livelihood. A junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Cesar’s dedication to animals has defined his career goal: to become a veterinarian. Cesar’s passion for animal conservation has led him to veterinary internships and even conservation trips across the world to Australia. In his trip to New South Wales, Australia, Cesar discovered more about himself and how he wanted to live his life than he thought he would.
It all started on July 1, 2015. That’s when Cesar Muro made a promise to himself to reduce his meat consumption. Vegetarianism isn’t just about animal cruelty. Meat production uses a large amount of our resources and even contributes to a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. It wasn’t easy for Cesar to make the decision to stop eating meat.
“It was a long process,” said Cesar. “In the beginning of last year, I started to think about the possibility of becoming a vegetarian. At that point, I didn’t think I could stop eating meat because it was so good.”
Although his decision to reduce eating meat was a recent one, his passion for environmentalism was born at a young age.
“It was my go-to project topic that I always wanted to talk about,” said Cesar. “In high school, when we were told to give a presentation about something we were passionate about, I would always choose environmentalism. I always wanted to learn more.”
It was his desire to learn more about environmentalism and sustainability that fueled him to embark on an International Student Volunteers’ Environmental Management volunteer trip. On the two-week trip in the city of Newcastle, Cesar constructed nature trails and cleared salt marshes of invasive species that were preventing native birds from building their nests.
It was on this summer volunteerism trip that Cesar decided to truly take the next step on his journey to becoming a vegetarian. However, reducing meat consumption down to zero wasn’t a decision he made all on his own. In fact, it was the inspiration of a fellow volunteer that sparked his desire to make a real lifestyle change.
“We were each going around in a circle talking about what we did to be sustainable, and a girl began talking about how she was a vegan, used recycled clothing and so many other things,” said Cesar. “I just started asking more about her life and how she tried to be more sustainable.”
Learning about his new-found friend’s lifestyle fueled his commitment. “I decided to become vegetarian the day after my birthday, which is on June 30,” said Cesar. “I wanted to give myself a specific date in which I stopped eating meat or at least began decreasing my meat consumption.”
After his ‘start date’, Cesar only slipped three times as he weaned himself off of meat. Cesar has been completely meat-free for about eight months now, and he couldn’t be more proud of himself.
“Before, when people would ask me if I was a vegetarian, I wouldn’t be able to answer them because I still would have a cheat day once a month,” said Cesar. “But now, I can proudly say that I am a vegetarian.”
Cesar’s dedication to sustainability goes beyond animal conservation and also touches on another very important area: human rights. Cesar is the vice president for UNICEF at UH, a student chapter of one of the biggest global children’s rights organizations. UNICEF even rewarded Cesar with a scholarship to attend the annual Yale UNICEF Conference.
“They were giving out three scholarships to students who were involved with university chapters, so I applied and got a scholarship,” said Cesar. “It was really cool to go there and meet people who share similar interests as me apart from UNICEF.”
For more information about how to become involved with UNICEF at UH, email them at email@example.com.
Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond to make sustainable improvements in your community? Nominate them to be featured in the Sustainable Coog Series! For more information, visit our website at uh.edu/sustainability.