Melbourne’s Moreland City Council is participating in Meat Free Mondays.
The decision has received positive feedback from environmentalists and criticism from the struggling Australian meat industry.
All Moreland City Council — which governs a Northern central area of Melbourne — will be meat-free on Mondays. This is for environmental reasons and is part of local, national, and international efforts to counter climate change. Meat consumption has been linked to climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report earlier this month stating clearly that a meat-based diet has a larger negative impact on the environment than consuming plant-based foods.
The report repeatedly cites reduced meat-consumption as a huge factor in the prevention of desertification, land degradation, and food insecurity. If action is not taken, 1.5C and 2C global temperature increases will be reached by 2040 and 2060 respectively.
The report describes an optimal scenario as, “low population growth, reduced inequalities, land use regulation, low meat consumption, increased trade, and few barriers to adaptation or mitigation.”
Critics of the switch say the move is city-centric and does not take into account the livelihoods of those living and working in rural areas. The Australian meat industry has also separately stated its own aim to be carbon neutral by 2030 (CN30).
While the IPCC does not recommend specific dietary choices, the organization posted on Twitter, “what we’ve pointed out on the basis of the scientific evidence is that there are certain diets that have a lower carbon footprint.”
Moreland City Council’s promotion of Meat-Free Mondays aligns with changing international attitudes to meat and climate change. Many governments and lawmakers around the world are also taking steps to reduce meat consumption and encourage plant-based diets.
The IPCC stated that “the consumption of healthy and sustainable diets, such as those based on coarse grains, pulses, and vegetables, and nuts and seeds … presents major opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Scientists believe that the worst effects of climate change will soon be unavoidable if left unchecked.