Award-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish recently lent her support to Friends of the Earth (FoE) as part of its Climate-Friendly School Food Program campaign.
Having been vegan for eight years, the artist revealed that the treatment of animals within the food system pushed her towards the lifestyle. This, coupled with how their products impact the climate, helped her make the switch from vegetarianism.
In a video posted to Instagram, Eilish talked about her journey to veganism. She then looked into the camera and addressed the climate crisis.
“Shifting our diets towards more plant-based foods can have a major impact on climate change,” she said.
Plant-based meals for US schools
FoE is taking aim at the almost five billion school meals being served every year in the US. It states that, as one of the largest public feeding initiatives, the K-12 school meal service provides an opportunity to improve not only student health, but also the climate crisis.
Despite what it refers to as a “growing demand” for plant-based options in schools, the provision is still extremely small, according to FoE. To improve this, the environmental campaign group seeks to facilitate easier transition to greater dietary choice.
A number of resources have been created, for catering providers, teaching staff, and students alike. For the food providers, this includes lists of plant-based suppliers, products, and sustainable packaging options.
It is hoped that, by providing a roadmap for implementing menu change, the process will be faster and easier. If so, it could lead to an increasing number of schools, across various states, contributing to essential climate action.
To date, only a small number of localities have sought to cater to plant-based school diners. Illinois is doing so due to a change in the law that comes into effect in August 2023. Meanwhile, New York is actively encouraging meat-free dining. More than 1,700 schools in the district are participating in Vegan Fridays, on the say-so of plant-based Mayor Eric Adams.
Eilish using her platform
The FoE campaign is not the first time Eilish has spoken out about vegan food and the climate emergency.
Her Happier Than Ever tour, launched earlier this year, afforded her an opportunity to put the climate front and center. Alongside repeatedly encouraging her fan base to consider turning plant-based, she included an ‘Action Village’ at every concert location.
The village hosted a number of environmental charities and organizations, including her own Support + Feed, launched with her mother, Maggie Baird. Featured organizations offered easy ways for Eilish fans to align with climate-friendly pledges.
Eilish has also collaborated with Nike to create vegan Air Force 1 and Air Jordan sneakers. This, in part, earned her PETA’s “Person Of The Year” award in 2021. At the time, Ingrid Newkirk, president of the animal rights organization stated that Eilish was consistent in “seizing every opportunity” to promote plant-based food and cruelty-free fashion.