Major cities all over the world are being encouraged to adopt the Plant-Based Treaty to shift their communities to climate-friendly plant-based diets. Los Angeles is one of the first cities, and the largest one in the US, to sign the treaty, following a meeting by the LA City Council last month where they unanimously voted to adopt the Plant-Based Treaty.
This vote was taken prior to the C40 World Mayors Summit, where mayors of the world’s largest cities meet to discuss climate mitigation strategies, which took place in Buenos Aires last month. It brought together almost 100 mayors from major cities around the world, including London, Hong Kong, and Copenhagen. They met either in person or virtually. A group of almost 200 organizations and businesses urged the mayors to shift their communities to climate-friendly diets, and to demonstrate their commitment by signing their city up to the Plant-Based Treaty and the Good Food Cities Declaration. Alongside these commitments, continued alignment with the 19 “best practices” that define the C40 group, including taxing high-emission foods such as meat and making plant-based foods the default option on menus, is expected.
The C40 has already identified that a mainstream switch to a plant-based diet is the most impactful change that cities can make. They’ve noted that lowering meat consumption from 58kg to 16kg per person by 2030 is critical for climate improvement, and that each city must be active in making plant-based foods more accessible to realize the goal.
New York has already begun to do this, by making plant-based food in its hospitals the default option. Berkeley City Council made history in July when it pledged to remove all animal products from its menus by 2024. Amsterdam is also taking proactive steps, by encouraging its citizens to eat a plant-based diet at least 50 percent of the time by 2030.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has also been highlighting the need for a shift away from meat and dairy as a key weapon in the fight against the worsening climate emergency. “The IPCC consistently shows the vegan diet to be the optimal diet to fight the climate and methane emergencies,” Allie Molinaro, campaigns manager at Compassion in World Farming explained in a statement.
“C40 cities are considered leaders on local climate action and can accelerate much needed progress by implementing best practices such as serving plant-based food at council events and using every policy tool at their disposal including public information campaigns, procurement, subsidies, investment, divestment, taxation, community gardens, and fruit and vegetable prescription programs.”
While Seattle’s mayor, Bruce Harrell, did attend the C40 conference, and received global recognition for Seattle’s work in funding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, building community resilience and increasing net zero affordable housing, the city has yet to make any commitment regarding plant-based diets. Don’t get left behind, Seattle!!