City of Toronto: Endorse the Plant Based Treaty to Stop Climate Change!

City of Toronto: Endorse the Plant Based Treaty to Stop Climate Change!

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Youth Climate Save Canada started this petition to John Tory (Mayor, City of Toronto)

Read the Plant Based Treaty here

Dear Mayor John Tory,

We know you are committed to addressing climate change and continuing to make Toronto a leader for sustainability.

As a resident of Toronto, I am concerned about our city's lack of action on food systems as a key contributor to climate change.

We are calling for the City of Toronto to endorse the Plant Based Treaty.

There is a climate, ocean and biodiversity crisis. Fossil fuels and animal agriculture are the driving force behind runaway global warming as well as extensive biodiversity loss, large-scale deforestation, species extinction, water depletion, soil degradation and ocean dead zones.

Addressing fossil fuels alone is not enough — we need action on food systems too; that’s where the Plant Based Treaty comes in. The three main greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are at record levels and rapidly accelerating; animal agriculture contributes to all three but is the main driver of methane and nitrous oxide emissions globally.

Scientists warned in the IPCC sixth assessmentthat we need to cut methane or face collapse. Lead reviewer Durwood Zaelke said methane reductions were probably the only way of preventing temperature rises of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, otherwise extreme weather will increase and several planetary tipping pointscould be triggered, from which there is no coming back. Zaelke points out that “cutting methane is the biggest opportunity to slow warming between now and 2040. We need to face this emergency.”

In short, the three greenhouse gases must be tackled both urgently and with equal measure. Plant-based and soft energy solutions that can mitigate this disaster are within our grasp — we just need to implement them.

As a companion to the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement, the Plant Based Treaty is a landmark international treaty and first of its kind to put food systems at the heart of combating the climate crisis. The Treaty aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture, to promote a shift to more healthy, sustainable plant-based diets and to actively reverse damage done to planetary functions, ecosystem services and biodiversity.

The Plant Based Treaty has three core principles: 

No land use change, ecosystem degradation or deforestation for animal agriculture

An active transition away from animal-based food systems to plant-based systems

Actively restore key ecosystems, particularly restoring forests and rewilding landscapes

There are 14 ways that cities specifically can help. Please add the following to the agenda at future committee meetings:

1. Declare a climate emergency.
2. Endorse the Plant Based Treaty to encourage national governments to negotiate plant based solutions to the climate crisis.
3. Encourage your city to explore and incorporate plant based solutions in the city’s Climate Action Plan.
4. Cater institutional events with local, vegan foods.
5. Encourage plant-based options at local restaurants and provide incentives.
6. Promote plant-based at local city festivals, city cleanups and other events.
7. Commit to ordering plant based meals for meetings and conferences.
8. Encourage employees and coworkers to eat plant based at lunch.
9. Transition your work cafeteria to plant-based and set meaningful goals and a timeline.
10. Switch to plant meals at day care centers, retirement homes and other jurisdictions the city oversees.
11. Allocate advertising dollars to inform the public about how eating plant based diets plays a crucial role in helping to reverse the climate crisis.
12. Invest in community gardens and farmer’s markets to help improve access to healthy food and fresh produce and improve community involvement and connectivity.
13. Plant urban forests and trees to lower summer daytime temperature, provide habitat for wildlife and a reduction of greenhouse gases. Orchards and forest gardens in the city can provide healthy and fresh sources of fruits for urban residents.
14. Commit to making fresh fruits and vegetables accessible and affordable in food deserts where healthy food options are restricted or nonexistent due to absence of grocery stores and farmer’s markets within convenient traveling distances.

Thank you!

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