RESOLUTION: MEATFREE MONDAY

WHEREAS, the City of Cincinnati strives to promote lifestyles that are healthy and ecologically sustainable; and

WHEREAS, increasing informed attention has focused on problems associated with animal agriculture, including threats to consumer health, rural communities, the environment and sustainability, as well as the treatment of animals; and

WHEREAS, in 1987, the clear links between food and the environment were first popularized by EarthSave founder John Robbin's book Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth, and

WHEREAS, in January, 2002, an E Magazine cover story cited the many environmental problems directly attributable to consumption of animal products as its text-only cover proclaimed "So You're an Environmentalist; Why Are You Still Eating Meat?", and

WHEREAS, also in 2002, the World Health Organization reported that switching to predominantly plant-based diets would "prevent or delay a significant proportion of non-comminicable chronic diseases and... protect against obesity"; and

WHEREAS, a 2005 University of Chicago report, Diet, Energy and Global Warming, found that the Standard American Diet (SAD), at 28% meat, produces 1.5 metric tons more CO2 equivalent emissions than a plant based diet, while a diet of 20% meat reduces the added greenhouse gas (GHG) burden by a third, to 1 ton at the equivalent of switching from driving a Camry to a Prius, and

WHEREAS, in 2006 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations issued its comprehensive report, Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, measuring meat and dairy's contribution to global GHG production, which it placed at 18%, considerably more than that of the planet's buildings (8%) or transportation modes (13%) , and

WHEREAS, the UN report also found that the livestock sector is responsible for nearly 40% of anthropogenic (human caused) methane (at 23 times the global warming potential of CO2), 65% of the nitrous oxide (at 296 times the GWP of CO2) and almost two-thirds of ammonia emissions (which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems), and

WHEREAS, in 2007, The Lancet, probably the world's most respected medical journal, called for high level "policy attention paid to the health risks posed by the rapid worldwide growth in meat consumption, both by exacerbating climate change and by directly contributing to certain diseases" and recommended "to prevent increased greenhouse-gas emissions from this production sector... the average worldwide consumption level of animal products must be reduced", and

WHEREAS, in early 2008, in response to these understandings, the City of Cincinnati's Green Cincinnati Action Plan offered a single food related recommendation, F-1, the Meat Consumption Reduction Recommendation, which called for a 15% reduction in the consumption of animal products (meat and dairy), the equivalent of one meatless day a week, making Cincinnati the first city in the world to recommend reduced meat consumption to slow climate change, and

WHEREAS, Cincinnati's Director of the Office of Environmental Quality, Larry Falkin, noted at the time that implementing F-1 would be more effective in reducing GHG emissions than any of the 80+ other recommendations in the Plan "short of Duke Energy ceasing to use coal entirely", and

WHEREAS, that same year a study done at Carnegie Mellon University published in Environmental Science and Technology found that the environmental impact of US household's food consumption is nearly twice that of its vehicular usage, suggesting where you stick your fork is of far greater importance then where you point your car or what car your pointing, and

WHEREAS, that same Carnegie Mellon study found that only 5% of the [GHG] emissions related to food comes from transporting food to market, concluding “You can have a much bigger impact by shifting just one day a week from meat and dairy to anything else than going local every day of the year, and

WHEREAS, a February 2009 article in Scientific American commented "The take-home lesson is clear: we ought to give careful thought to diet and its consequences for the planet if we are serious about limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases", and

WHEREAS, another 2009 report by World Bank ecologists published in Worldwatch more than doubled the percentage figure of anthropogenic GHG emissions attributable to meat consumption... to 51%, and

WHEREAS, also in 2009, a study by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency published in New Scientist, found that the global population switching to a "low-meat diet" would create of a massive new carbon sink and wipe out $20 trillion of the costs of fighting climate change, and

WHEREAS, the same report identifies "more [total] greenhouse gas impact from methane and nitrous oxide than from all the CO2 in the supply chain," suggesting that methane reduction should be our priority and a shift away from methane-emitting food sources our best approach, as it can be accomplished quickly, with little negative economic impact (and likely economic benefit), and will have almost immediate effect, as the current turnover rate for most ruminant farm animals is between one and two years (far less than the turnover rate for cars, busses, trains, planes, ships and power plants, and the timetables for developing alternative fuel sources); additionally, unlike carbon dioxide, which can remain in the atmosphere for more than a century, methane cycles out in about eight years, all of which can translate quickly into a significant impact on global warming, and

WHEREAS, 2014 analysis published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and authored by 15 leading climate change scientists determined the US is currently pumping out as much as 50% more methane than recorded, due to inadequate measuring methods, and placed the principal source in animal farming, particularly cow flatulence and manure, announcing "Our study indicates that emissions due to ruminants and manure are up to twice the magnitude of existing inventories," and

WHEREAS, the co-author of a 2014 study from Chalmers University to Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, declaired in an April 2014 New York Times editorial that technological solutions would be insufficient to rescue the planet from cataclysmic climate change and humanity's best hope was to severely reduce meat and dairy consumption, and

WHEREAS, using land to raise animals to eat is 10-100 times less efficient than using it to grow edible crops for humans, using 10 times the energy and 100 times the water to produce the equivalent amount of plant protein, so eating less animal products has the potential to alleviate and even erradicate hunger and thirst globally, and

WHEREAS, animals raised for food in the US alone generate 130 times the waste of the human population 'a staggering 89,000 pounds per second' helping to make animal agriculture the leading cause of pollution of our waterways, and

WHEREAS, the UN's FAO report concluded "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global... The findings of this report suggest that [meat] should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity... The impact is so significant that there is an urgent need to develop suitable institutional and policy frameworks, at local, national and international levels", and

WHEREAS, human health as well as planetary health is adversely affected by excessive meat and dairy consumption, as most of the major, high mortality diseases and ailments of our era are linked to the consumption of animal products (cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, many common cancers, diverticular disease, other chronic diseases, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, appendicitis, gall stones, kidney stones, food allergies and food poisoning), a reduction in which can have enormous societal and economic benefits, and

WHEREAS, the American Dietetic Association has stated that vegetarians have “lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease…lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, prostate and colon cancer” and are less likely to be obese, and

WHEREAS, studies in prisons and schools have shown significant reductions in dietary dairy and meat consumption dramatically reduce violence and inattention, while increasing focus, productivity and the pleasure of learning (hence teaching), and

WHEREAS, a growing number of people who are reducing their meat consumption to help prevent animal cruelty are feeling psychological benefits in doing so, and compassion for animals often incurs increased compassion toward human beings, and

WHEREAS, a 15% reduction in meat consumption would spare the loves of approximately 1.5 billion animals in the US alone, and

WHEREAS, in Europe a trend called "Meat Reducers" has taken hold, in which people not only recycle and bring cloth bags to markets instead of taking plastic ones, but make an effort to eat less animal products for the good of the environment, and

WHEREAS, without such effective action, global production of meat and milk is projected to more than double by 2050 and the environmental impact of livestock production will have to be cut by half just to avoid increasing the level of damage beyond its present level; a 15%/one-day-a-week reduction is a significant start, as much for the actual reductions it achieves as the impetus it provides to educational efforts and additional action, and

WHEREAS, the Nobel Prize winning Chair of UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, stated that to begin to shrink their carbon footprint humans should make one day a week meat free, and

WHEREAS, behaviors established at the start of the week are more likely to be maintained throughout the week, and

WHEREAS, hospitals, college campuses and schools in the Greater Cincinnati area and around the US are recognizing the need to consume less animal products with Meatless Monday programs in their cafeterias and campus-wide, and

WHEREAS, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Medicine has been leading the national "Meatless Monday" campaign for more than a decade, also signed on to by more than 20 other leading schools of health, and

WHEREAS, cities around the world have followed Cincinnati's lead in calling for reduced meat consumption, including US cities Washington, D.C., San Francisco, CA, Baltimore, MD and Newport, KY, declaring Meat Free Mondays/Veg Days; in 2012, the Council of the City of Los Angeles unanimously passed a resolution declaring all Mondays "Meatless Mondays", citing as its ultimate justification the 2008 Green Cincinnati Plan's Meat Consumption Reduction recommendation, and

WHEREAS, The City of Cincinnati’s Environmental Advisory Council has twice recommended Council's adoption of a Meatless Monday, and

WHEREAS, the City of Cincinnati's own 2013 Green Cincinnati Plan recommends reducing meat consumption by the equivalent of one day a week and calls on the City to promote Meatless Mondays short term, mid-term and long term,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Cincinnati City Council hereby declares all Mondays to be "Meatfree Monday" in Cincinnati, to educate and encourage residents to support comprehensive sustainability efforts as well as to eat a more varied plant-based diet to benefit their health and that of the living planet.