Countries encourage plant-based foods for the planet

It’s now well established that the production of animal products is bad for the environment, whether it’s the air and water pollution caused by the production of manure, the destruction of the rainforests to clear grazing land for cattle, the soil erosion caused by free-range cattle, but most importantly the excessive greenhouse gases released from cows in the form of methane.

Many cities and even countries have started to recognize these essential facts, and to acknowledge that changing our diet is critical, especially to prevent the continuation of global warming. By pushing plant-based food consumption and supporting alternative protein development, some governments, at the local, state or national level, have started to take important steps to reduce meat consumption.

Here in the United States, several states and major cities have embraced a more plant-forward approach to food.  This ranges from the public schools initiatives in New York City schools, promoted by vegan mayor Eric Adams, to Illinois which gave 2 million children access to plant-based school lunches, to California which became the first state to support plant-based school meals.

Germany’s new National Nutrition Strategy acknowledged that the country’s meat consumption was far too high, both from a nutrition and a sustainability perspective.  It laid out several goals, including insuring that 30% of agricultural goods come from organic farming by 2030 and halving food waste in every sector.  In order to meet these goals, the strategy needs to embrace seasonal, local and plant-based produce.

In Denmark, the national government announced it would dedicate around $183 million to the advancement of the plant-based food sector, as part of an unprecedented climate agreement for food and agriculture.  The Finnish government also invested $2.4 million into the country’s plant-based meat sector. Similarly in Taiwan, a new climate bill, which specifically references the promotion of plant-based, low-carbon diets, passed the legislature in Taiwan.

While some of these might seem like small steps, they are valuable steps on the road to acknowledging the need for all of us to switch to a plant-based diet if we are to solve the climate crisis we face.