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The Plant-Based Treaty: food, agriculture and the climate

Can we talk about this in Sidmouth?

What can we do to reduce our carbon footprint through diet and the use of agricultural land?

One approach is to help reduce carbon emissions by making choices about what we eat. And here in East Devon, these choices are not only personal but have a much wider effect, as we live in an area dominated by the farming and the hospitality industries.

A specific way ahead might be suggested by the Plant-Based Treaty – and an event organised by the CAPS project will be looking at this on Thursday, 29th February at 3pm in the Cellar Bar of Kennaway House,

So, what is the Plant-Based Treaty?

As the Plant-Based Treaty website says: “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 isn’t enough – we need action on food systems too; that’s where the Plant Based Treaty comes in.”

To help explain what the Plant-Based Treaty is about and what we can do locally, CAPS has brought together a panel of locally-based experts.

Amongst those speaking will be Tracey and Simon West, both long-time environmentalists, having co-founded Word Forest, an international reforestation and education charity based in East Devon. They have also lived a vegan lifestyle for the past eight years – and so are very interested in what the Plant-Based Treaty can do to help us shift towards plant-based diets to combat climate change, deforestation and food security issues.

As Tracey says: “The UK needs to address food production methods as a matter of urgency. Our planet has done its best to give us healthy soil and clean waterways. It’s time for we humans to take up the slack and repair the damage we’ve done to ensure food security into the future.”

The speakers will aim to present science, facts and evidence that underpin the Plant-Based Treaty, so that people can then feel confident that they can make informed food and diet choices that will help them reduce their carbon footprint. Simon makes the point: “Science proves that one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact is to adopt a plant based diet. Signing the Plant Based Treaty shows your commitment to doing your best to protect the future.”

As CAPS lead Dave Bramley says, “CAPS hopes the event will allow for informed discussion on the key issues.”

Following an introduction to the Plant-Based Treaty from the speakers, the debate will be thrown open to the audience to further explore what a move to a more plant-based diet could mean. The event is open to all, there will be plant-based nibbles at hand and entry is free – but donations will be welcome and teas/coffees will be available from the trolley.

As Dave says, “CAPS very much looks forward to engaging the wider community in this debate.”

And how has the Plant-Based Treaty been reported in the media?

There has been a lot of discussion about the Plant-Based Treaty, and some of it here in Sidmouth already, with a few postings here from the last year or so – as shared on the CAPS social media pages:

2022 Year in Review – Plant Based Treaty [21 March 2023]

2022 Year in Review – Plant Based Treaty – YouTube

Earth Day [20 April 2023]

7 Things you can do this Earth Day! – Plant Based Treaty

A ‘balanced’ diet [1 May 2023]

The controversy over school dinners has excited the media – and commentators:

“Meat vs plant-based: The food debate is polarized, ideologized and tribalized” []

A ‘balanced’ diet – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Should councils endorse a plant-based diet or support local farmers? [26 May 2023]

Exeter, Edinburgh and Oxford councils have adopted the Treaty – but Cornwall has not:

“Our current food system is broken. It erodes public health, damages the environment and puts our farmers under financial strain. Farmers could and should be a major part of the solution to all of these problems – but they will require strong political leadership and our wholehearted support.” [Dominic Fairman, Cornwall Councillor]

Should councils endorse a plant-based diet or support local farmers? – Vision Group for Sidmouth