This City Just Banned All Meat Ads to Protect the Planet
Despite urgent warnings about the approaching climate crisis, the world is eating more meat than ever, with sales advancing to $85.2 billion over the last year, according to NielsenIQ. But how? With catchy slogans and pro-meat campaigns, animal agriculture giants are successfully resisting plant-based and environmental activism. Now, a city in Holland is banning meat advertisements in all public places to promote sustainable eating and encourage citizens to reduce their meat consumption.
Haarlem, located 20 miles from Amsterdam, introduced this ban as a component of the city's greater environmentally-conscious advertising policy. Currently, airlines, gas-powered car companies, and fossil fuel-reliant brands are prohibited from advertising in public spaces including buses, shelters, and screens around the city. Starting in 2024, the city will add meat companies to the advertisement ban to help promote sustainability within the municipality.
“Meat is just as harmful to the environment,” Ziggy Klazes, a GroenLinks – green political party – councilor told Dutch publication Trouw. “We can’t tell people there’s a climate crisis and encourage them to buy products that are part of the cause.”
The city council made the decision final last week, and since then, the ban has been met with outcry from meat industry advocates. A spokesperson for industry body Centrale Organisatie voor de Vleessector claimed that the city is overstepping, going “too far in telling people what’s best for them.” However, Klazes believes that this ban will help protect the planet, despite the backlash from the meat industry.
“We are not about what people are baking and roasting in their own kitchen; if people wanted to continue eating meat, fine … we can’t tell people there’s a climate crisis and encourage them to buy products that are part of the cause,” Klazes told the Haarlem105 radio channel. “Of course, there are a lot of people who find the decision outrageous and patronizing, but there are also a lot of people who think it’s fine. It is a signal – if it is picked up nationally, that would only be very nice. There are many groups of GroenLinks who think it is a good idea and want to try it.”
This decision closely follows Holand's effort to reduce livestock herds to lower nitrogen emissions within the animal agriculture industry. Farmers in Holland erupted in protests that ended with violence and three arrests. The Dutch government claimed that this policy is an unavoidable transition meant to help the country lower greenhouse gas emissions 49 percent by 2030.
Animal Agriculture's Damage to the Environment
This summer, Europe experienced record-breaking heat waves that killed livestock, ruined crops, and scorched forests. The temperature reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit across Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, signifying that the effects of the climate crisis have officially arrived in Europe.
Currently, animal agriculture is responsible for 57 percent of food-related greenhouse gases. Cutting meat consumption can significantly help lower the risk of environmental dangers in the coming years. Eating plant-based just twice a week for a year is the equivalent of planting 14 billion trees by helping minimize land use and reversing deadly greenhouse gas emissions.
Researchers from the United Nations assert that the world must slash methane emissions by 33 percent by 2030 – pointing the finger at the beef and dairy industries. Today, cows are responsible for 40 percent of global methane emissions. Methane has 80 times more warming power than carbon dioxide during the 20 years that it initially reaches the atmosphere.
Sustainable Food at COP27
Facing backlash from last year's climate conference, the United Nations is hosting its first-ever food-centric climate event during COP27 this year. The Food4Climate Pavilion, organized by sustainable food non-profit ProVeg International, will host 17 sustainable partners to share how adapting food systems is essential to climate action.
The event highlights that if global temperatures rise above 1.5º Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the deadly environmental changes and severe weather events will not only become irreversible but will worsen in the next few decades.
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