Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the OneNYC2050 plan—which he dubs “New York City’s Green New Deal,” a $14 billion initiative that focuses on reducing NYC’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 with the goal of full carbon neutrality by 2050. The initiative focuses on a number of industries, including the transportation, electricity, and real estate sectors where sweeping energy-efficient changes will be made. NYC’s Green New Deal also includes a historic measure to phase out the amount of meat served within city-controlled agencies such as hospitals, schools, and correctional facilities. In the coming years, the mayor plans to reduce the purchase of beef by 50 percent and completely remove processed meat from menus served at such facilities, as well as focusing on banning single-use plastics in foodware. “You’re not going to find climate deniers in New York City because we suffered through [Hurricane] Sandy. We also believe the estimates that tell us that we have only 12 years to get it right. Let’s be clear, we have until 2030 to change things fundamentally, or our lives won’t be the same,” de Blasio said, emphasizing the importance of the actions he will implement through OneNYC2050.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams—who adopted a vegan lifestyle in 2016—has successfully implemented several initiatives that set the stage for the animal agriculture-focused efforts of OneNYC2050. In 2017, Adams worked with de Blasio to implement Meatless Mondays at 15 schools in Brooklyn, a program the mayor expanded to all 1,700 NYC public schools this March. In 2018, Adams was also instrumental in spearheading the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals Bellevue—the largest municipal hospital and healthcare system in the United States—where patients are now prescribed a plant-based diet in lieu of pills. “I’m in for a Green New Deal. From grassroots advocates, who have been sounding the environmental alarm for decades, to my fellow local elected colleagues, our shared mission is to make aggressive moves that combat the climate change crisis threatening the very existence of our planet,” Adams said. “I am particularly thrilled that this City has taken up our mantle to reduce our overconsumption of meat through the phasing out of processed meat purchasing and the reduction of beef purchasing; make no mistake, addressing the carbon-intensive activity of meat production is a sustainable solution for the health of our bodies and our planet alike. Nearly 50 years after the first Earth Day celebration, the clock is ticking on our ability to secure a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.”
Earlier this year, Adams announced that he is running for NYC mayor in 2021, and if he is victorious, the OneNYC2050 initiative might exceed its goals in phasing out animal products from hundreds of millions of meals citywide. Tonight, Adams’ office is hosting a viewing of vegan documentary Cowspiracy to further shed light on the damaging effect animal agriculture has on the environment.