Mayor Challenged to Make Dunedin NZ’s First Plant-Based City

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The Vegan Society Aotearoa has issued a challenge to Dunedin’s mayor, Jules Radich, for Dunedin to become the first city in Aotearoa to become a plant-based city. By doing so it would be joining its sister city Edinburgh who became Europe’s first capital to sign the Plant Based Treaty.

In a letter emailed today, the Society reminds the mayor that “a 2019 report from C40 Cities showed that food was the biggest source of urban consumption-based emissions and noted that a move to a plant-based diet offered, by far, the biggest opportunity for emissions savings in cities.” It noted that Dunedin City Council has pledged to become Zero Carbon by 2030, so this would really boost the city’s chances to make that goal.

There are currently 20 cities globally who endorse the Plant Based Treaty. As such they are committing to reducing animal agriculture, transitioning towards plant-based farming and actively supporting rewilding and regeneration of affected ecosystems. They aim to educate their residents on the benefits of eating plant-based and help increase vegan options throughout their sphere of activities. Otepoti Dunedin would be the first Australasian city to do so.

The letter went on to say that “Climate change will affect everybody in some way, no matter where you live. Thus, it is up to all of us to do what we can in our lives to mitigate the effects. Going vegan is the easiest, simplest, and most effective thing that any individual can do. You could save up to 73% of your emissions due to food by choosing plant-based meals. With every meal you eat, you make a choice, and your choices make a difference.

Not only that it is better for your health! There are many diseases, including some cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes which are prevented by a plant-based diet. There is no cholesterol in plants and much less saturated fats. A wholefood plant-based diet is suitable for all humans of all ages and is enjoyed by millions throughout the world.

With a burgeoning population, collapsing global fish stocks, weather events ready to take out crops and the huge problems associated with animal agriculture, the time for change is well and truly here.”

The Society has also issued a personal challenge to the mayor to try plant-based for himself. Media spokesperson for the Society, Claire Insley said, “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. 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 done by anyone at any time.”

The more people who make the change now, the quicker that CO2 and methane levels can be reduced, the better for everyone.

Read the full letter below:

Kia ora Jules,

It’s Claire here from the Vegan Society and I’m writing to you as part of our VIP Vegan Challenge, where every March we challenge a VIP to try our 21 Day Challenge. As the mayor of Otepoti Dunedin, whose sister city Edinburgh, has endorsed the Plant Based Treaty recently, we thought you would be perfect.

We are delighted that Edinburgh has signed the Plant Based Treaty and pledged to an action plan and timescale for implementing possible changes to Council activities. In 2019 a report from C40 Cities showed that food was the biggest source of urban consumption-based emissions and noted that a move to a plant-based diet offered, by far, the biggest opportunity for emissions savings in cities. 20 cities have now endorsed the Treaty worldwide.

It would be an awesome opportunity for Dunedin to lead the way in Aotearoa and help mitigate its greenhouse gas emissions by becoming the first city in New Zealand to endorse the Plant Based Treaty. We noticed that the Dunedin City Council has pledged to be Zero Carbon by 2030, endorsing the Plant Based Treaty would certainly help towards this goal.

We understand that asking the City Council to approve an endorsement could take some time, however, the good news is that you do not have to wait to go plant-based! With our new 21 day Plant-Based Challenge you can make the choice to try eating plant-based for yourself right now. By taking such a step yourself, you are not then asking the city to do something that you yourself would not do.

Did you know that Dunedin is a veritable city of delights for plant-based eaters? For a small population, Dunedin punches above its weight where veganism is concerned. An honour it shares with its sister city Edinburgh.

Climate change will affect everybody in some way, no matter where you live. Thus, it is up to all of us to do what we can in our lives to mitigate the effects. Going plant-based is the easiest, simplest, and most effective thing that any individual can do. You could save up to 73% of your emissions due to food by choosing plant-based meals. With every meal you eat, you make a choice, and your choices make a difference.

Not only good for the environment, going plant-based is better for your health! There are many diseases, including some cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes which are prevented by a plant-based diet. There is no cholesterol in plants and much less saturated fats. A wholefood plant-based diet is suitable for all humans of all ages and is enjoyed by millions throughout the world.

With a burgeoning population, collapsing global fish stocks, weather events ready to take out crops and the huge problems associated with animal agriculture, the time for change is well and truly here.

Are you ready to make the switch?

Are you the mayor who will take Aotearoa into the 21st century?

We urge you to give plant-based a try yourself and get Dunedin to endorse the Plant Based Treaty. Small changes now will make a huge difference to our future.

Ngā mihi

Kind regards

Claire Insley B.Sc. Adv.Dip. (they/them)

Media Spokesperson

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