Berkeley Goes Vegan Once a Week to Combat Climate Change

Berkeley Goes Vegan Once a Week to Combat Climate Change
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The City of Berkeley has implemented a policy to serve only vegan food once a week as part its new “Green Monday” initiative, in partnership with Green Monday US. In doing so, Berkeley has become the first American city to ever implement such a policy.

While the City Council is still deciding whether this weekly initiative will actually take place on Mondays, as its name suggests, or on another day of the week, the Council has resolved to only serve vegan food at meetings as part of the initiative. It will also require all city-owned or managed facilities and programs to serve only vegan food one day per week.

The resolution was introduced by City Council members Kate Harrison, Cheryl Davila, and Sophie Hahn as part of the city’s fight against climate change. Berkeley resolved in June to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“Scientific analyses have shown that one of the most effective ways for a person to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions is to reduce or eliminate their consumption of meat and dairy,” the resolution reads. “By systematically reducing meat and dairy consumption, the citizens of Berkeley can accomplish two objectives; substantially reducing our collective greenhouse gas emissions and serving as a model for other municipalities across the country and around the world.”

In addition to serving plant-based foods on Green Mondays, the city will also be launching educational programs about the initiative. SFGate reports that the city will even incentivize local restaurants to include vegan items on their menus, providing “Green Monday approved” certificates to participating establishments.

The Green Monday campaign was originally launched in 2012 in Hong Kong by entrepreneur David Yeung to increase awareness of the climactic concerns linked to a meat-heavy diet.

According to one United Nations report, animal agriculture creates over 14 percent of all human greenhouse gas emissions. A recent Water Resources Research report shows that the animal agriculture industry also uses 23 percent of the world’s freshwater.

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Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.