A West Sussex town in the UK has just made history by becoming the first in Europe to pledge to move towards veganism.
Haywards Heath – which has a population of around 34,000 people – has signed up to the Plant Based Treaty, an initiative aimed at persuading world leaders to move away from animal agriculture due to its environmental costs.
The treaty has 38 demands in total, including transitioning to plant-based meals in schools and hospitals, no new animal farms, and subsidizing fruit and vegetables.
Green councilor Richard Nicholson, who convinced the town to endorse the treaty, said: “The Climate Crisis is no longer a distant future threat but an existential crisis that is upon us in 2022.
“We must all act immediately, and moving to a plant-based diet is the most impactful thing any individual can do to help address the grave situation we face.”
Haywards Heath has said that it will not be directing residents to follow the basis of the treaty, but that it will “educate and encourage the local community to reduce food waste and move to plant-based diets to reduce CO2 emissions; activities which are as impactful as a large-scale move to green energy.”
One of its first steps will be the introduction of environmental awards for businesses and schools that encourage plant-based eating and reduce food waste.
The environmental cost of animal agriculture
Animal agriculture is disastrous for the environment in a number of ways, and a 2018 study from the University of Oxford found that we need to reduce beef consumption by 90 percent to avoid climate catastrophe.
It is estimated that meat production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation combined, and contributes to around 80 percent of global deforestation. Farmed animals also consume huge amounts of crops and water that could instead be fed directly to humans.
The Plant Based Treaty’s impact
The treaty has already been endorsed in 17 cities worldwide, including Boynton Beach in Florida
Find out more about the Plant Based Treaty on its website.