The Town Council of Haywards Heath, located near London, endorsed the Plant Based Treaty, becoming the first town in Europe to join the initiative to tackle emissions from animal farming and attributed deforestation, a key driver of the climate emergency. The proposed Treaty is backed by 17 municipal governments worldwide, including Boynton Beach in Florida and Rosario in Argentina.
Councillor Dr Richard Nicholson, a member of the Green Party who first presented the Plant Based Treaty to the Climate Change Committee, said “The Climate Crisis is no longer a distant future threat but an existential crisis that is upon us in 2022. The South East of England has endured the highest ever summer temperatures in history and people’s properties have been destroyed by fire and flood. We cannot wait for governments – we must all act immediately – and moving to a plant-based diet is the most impactful thing any individual can do to help address the grave situation we face. I’d encourage all Town, District, County and Metro councils to sign the Plant Based Treaty immediately.”
Haywards Heath Town Council is launching an Education and Business Environmental Awards Scheme. The Plant Based Treaty and food waste reduction will be cornerstones of these initiatives. They will seek to engage local community, environmental groups, and Parish councils to help progress these ground-up activities.
The council has taken a science-based approach to the climate crisis using research from Project Drawdown to provide a solid scientific foundation. While the council is unable to build large solar farms or wind turbines, we can educate and encourage the local community to reduce food waste and move to plant-based diets to reduce CO2 emissions; activities which are as impactful as a large-scale move to green energy! Not only this, a move to a Plant Based foods helps increase global biodiversity, will improve the local community’s health and, importantly, reduce weekly food bills. Having already supported the 2022 Veganuary initiative, endorsing the Plant Based Treaty was the obvious next step in an ongoing journey for Haywards Heath Town Council.
Nicola Harris, communications director at Plant Based Treaty, said, “Haywards Heath’s decision to call for urgent global action on plant-based solutions to the climate crisis demonstrates true leadership. It will be welcomed by those experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change.
Record-breaking 40C+ temperatures this summer are a bleak reminder that cuts to emissions from fossil fuels and animal agriculture can’t come soon enough. Animal farming is directly responsible for a third of human-caused methane. Therefore we need local, national and international cooperation to reduce food-related emissions through a shift to plant-based diets, boosted by action on food waste.”
Climate campaigners are calling on other towns and cities to follow Haywards Heath’s lead and help create a national council-led movement calling for a shift towards healthier, more sustainable plant-based diets. A petition calling Glastonbury to endorse the Plant Based Treaty has attracted almost 5,000 signatures.
100 councillors from almost 60 towns and cities have individually signed the Plant Based Treaty from parties including Conservatives, Green Party, Labour, and Liberal Democrats.
20 MPs (members of Parliment) signed Early Day Motion 434, including the Green’s Caroline Lucas and Labour’s former Shadow Chancellor John McDonell. The motion welcomes the Plant Based Treaty and calls for the UK to be a “world leader in recognizing the negative impact of industrial animal agriculture on climate change and commit to developing a global strategy to transition towards more sustainable plant-based food systems.”
The Plant Based Treaty has secured high-profile endorsements from celebrities, including Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, who issued a written statement calling for politicians to support the Plant-Based Treaty. They said: “We believe in justice for animals, the environment and people. That’s why we support the Plant Based Treaty and urge individuals and governments to sign it.”
The Plant Based Treaty is modelled on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and inspired by treaties that have addressed the threats of ozone layer depletion and nuclear weapons. Since its launch in August 2021, the initiative has received support from 43,000 individual endorsers, 5 Nobel laureates, IPCC scientists, more than 800 NGOs and community groups and 700 businesses, including Ecotricity, Linda McCartney Foods, Oceanic Preservation Society, Environmental Alliance Project, VIVA!, BOSH!, Animal Rebellion, and chapters of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Extinction Rebellion.