Berkeley, one of America’s most progressive cities, will no longer serve any animal products on Mondays in an effort to deal with climate change.
Starting today, Earth Day, Berkeley will begin Green Monday, which requires that all food served by the city at their facilities, meetings and events on Mondays is free of meat, Berkeleyside reported.
In addition, Green Monday, which has been referred to as “Vegan Mondays” by local media, will require meals served to be entirely free of all animal products, including dairy and eggs.
This comes as a result of a resolution passed by the Berkeley City Council in September, which requires that only vegan food be served, in an effort to reduce impact on the environment.
“Many people who care deeply about climate change, preservation of natural resources, pollution have no idea of the devastating impacts of eating animals,” said Amy Halpern-Laff, Green Monday’s director of strategic partnerships and Berkeley resident.
“We can make a tremendous difference just by cutting our meat and dairy consumption one day a week.”
Following the most comprehensive analysis of the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, scientists concluded that the single biggest way to reduce one’s ecological footprint is to avoid meat and dairy.
The study found that while meat and dairy provides only 18% of calories, it is responsible for 83% of farmland use.
Animal agriculture is also responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships in use today combined.
Green Monday is an international movement focused on encouraging the consumption of plant-based food for the benefit of the environment and human health.
Berkeley’s September announcement of “Green Monday” made it the first city in the country to do so, but at the time no date was set for when it would begin.
Critics of the resolution call it overreach, with many saying the government has no place to decide what people can and can’t eat.
However, supporters have called the resolution a step in the right direction to deal with climate change.
“We’re not asking people to take on a new identity as vegan,” said Halpern-Laff. Nor, for that matter, does the program have to take place on a Monday.”
“But Green Monday does ask people to think more critically about their consumption habits as a whole.”
In October, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced Meatless Mondays in conjunction with a local restaurant after writing out a “plant-based proclamation” last summer where he urged people to eat less meat for environmental benefits.
In the proclamation, Frey wrote: “Whereas, if each American affirmatively chose to eat plant-based foods at just one meal per week, the CO2 savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.”