March 7th 2023
The Plant Based Treaty: Towards More Sustainable Food Systems BY Isabel Putinja
Have you heard of the Plant Based Treaty?
Moby, Paul McCartney, Joaquin Phoenix, Alicia Silverstone, and Paul Wesley have all signed it. Among the other 60,000 signatories are scientists, organizations, businesses, and local city governments from across the globe.
This global initiative was inspired by similar actions such as the Fossil Fuel Treaty and the Paris Agreement, all of which aim to address the global climate crisis. The Plant Based Treaty officially launched on August 31, 2021 at city halls in more than 50 cities across the globe.
The Plant Based Treaty highlights the need to change food systems as a way of tackling the problem of climate change. It targets animal agriculture as the cause of the destruction of the earth’s ecosystems.
In the past few years, the impact of animal agriculture on climate change has finally been acknowledged. People have woken up to the fact that this is one of the biggest polluters of the world’s natural resources, causing greenhouse gas emissions, and the contamination of water and air. We also now know that meat production is the single biggest cause of deforestation globally, which leads to land degradation and the loss of biodiversity.
The Plant Based Treaty is a grassroots campaign put into motion by Canadian Anita Krajnc and Israeli Yael Hanna who are its global campaign coordinators. Their work is supported by regional and country campaign coordinators across the globe, as well as a team of youth ambassadors.
The treaty is not legally binding, but endorsing it is accepting that the globe is facing a climate emergency and that change is needed.
A move towards plant-based climate solutions
The ultimate goal of the Plant Based Treaty is to reverse the environmental destruction caused by animal agriculture and animal-based food industries.
As a solution, it advocates a switch to plant-based foods and more sustainable food systems by outlining three main demands: relinquish, redirect, and restore. There are three parts of the treaty, each corresponding to one of these three demands.
Demand 1: Relinquish – Stop the problem increasing
The first demand is an appeal to stop the clearing or conversion of forests or land for animal agriculture, and a call for no new construction or expansion of animal farms, fish farms or slaughterhouses.
Demand 2: Redirect – Eliminate the driving forces behind the problem
The second demand is for a transition away from animal-based food systems to plant-based ones, the promotion of plant-based foods, and making food security a priority. It also makes policy suggestions, some of which include the introduction of a meat tax to fund the restoration of land decimated by animal agriculture, subsidies for fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods, an end to government subsidies for meat, dairy and egg advertising, and support and training for people working in animal agriculture so that they can transition to plant-based systems.
Demand 3: Restore – Actively healing the problem while building resilience and mitigating climate change
This demand envisages a restoration of ecosystems and reforesting by planting native tree species,
making Marine Protected Areas no fishing zones, and planting carbon absorbers in the oceans such as seagrass beds, mangroves, peat bogs, etc. Meanwhile in cities, the call is for the planting of trees and wildflowers, creating wildlife corridors and green rooftops, providing access to healthy food, and the promotion of community food gardens and allotments.
Read more about the three demands of the Plant Based Treaty.
Who has endorsed The Plant Based Treaty?
Since its launch, the Plant Based Treaty has been endorsed by the local governments of 20 cities around the world, including Los Angeles and Boynton Beach in Florida, USA; Edinburgh, Scotland; Haywards Heath, UK; Didim, Turkey; and 15 cities across India.
Among the other 60,000 signatories, there are Nobel laureates, scientists, politicians, health care professionals, over 100 organizations across the world, and over 1000 global businesses.
See the full list of Plant Based Treaty endorsers.
Who can sign and endorse the Plant Based Treaty?
Anyone who cares about the planet can sign the Plant Based Treaty. You can endorse it as an individual, business owner, or member of an organization.
The campaign coordinators also encourage the backers of the treaty to create pressure from the bottom up and ask their city government to endorse it as a first step towards change. Visit the City Campaigns page on the Plant Based Treaty website to find out how you can email your local government and download sample letters.
You can also start a Plant Based Treaty team in your own city to work towards implementing plant-based projects and influencing policy, and ultimately promoting a shift towards a sustainable plant-based world.