The Vegan Society Aotearoa have challenged Dunedin’s Mayor, Jules Radich, to turn the southern city into New Zealand’s first plant-based city. The Vegan Society Aotearoa support and facilitate a vegan lifestyle, and promote plant-based alternative eating.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Radich, the society has urged that in a C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group report released in 2019, food was revealed as the biggest source of consumption-based emissions. The report noted that a move to a plant-based diet offered the biggest opportunity for emissions savings in cities.
Dunedin City Council pledged that its intention is for the city to become Zero Carbon by 2030, and this proposition is thought to be a boost to the city’s chances of making that plan a reality.
Currently, 20 cities globally have endorsed the Plant-Based Treaty, and have committed to reducing animal agriculture, and transitioning to plant-based farming. The 20 cities have also agreed to offer more public information about the benefits of eating a plant-based diet.
Dunedin would be the first city in Australasia if it were to sign the treaty, as well as Dunedin’s sister city, Edinburgh, having been the first capital in Europe to sign the Plant-Based Treaty, which was declared in January 2023.
Vegan Society Aotearoa spokesperson, Clarie Insley, said that the city should showcase a climate initiative, and the city’s leaders should stake a strong stance on the matter.
“It’s important for our leaders to be showing the way, walking the talk, and actually taking actions in their own lives to help mitigate climate change.”
Insley went on to suggest that it is a global problem that will require a global solution, with all individuals taking their share of the responsibility and taking effective action.
“Going plant-based is more effective than cycling to work or recycling, it requires no special technology and can be done by anyone at any time.”
The letter suggested that climate change is an ongoing issue by which everyone will be impacted. The society has reached a conclusion that 73 percent of emissions could be saved due to choosing a plant-based diet.
March is World Nutrition Month, with global advocacy around a plant-based diet being a frequent matter around the world.