The New York City skyline is set to be graced by a mesmerizing drone art show on the evenings of September 15 and 16. This unique spectacle features 1,000 drones and is timed to coincide with the commencement of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Ambition Summit, SDG Summit, and Climate Week. 

The creative force behind this spectacle is Eat Differently, a pioneer in advocating plant-based diets. Driven by animal advocates, Eat Differently also created a massive outdoor billboard campaign in San Diego, CA in July with the aim to inspire individuals from all walks of life to embrace plant-based eating.

For this new drone show, Eat Differently has partnered with a consortium of organizations to send a resounding message to global leaders: embracing plant-based eating can contribute to addressing a remarkable 11 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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It is already well-known that reducing our reliance on animal agriculture—and shifting to a plant-based food system—is critical to mitigate the worst of the climate crisis. A Sixth Assessment Report published earlier this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledged this. 

The report warns that global greenhouse gasses must be slashed by 43 percent by 2030 and 60 percent by 2035. 

And while the IPCC stresses all sectors must heavily reduce carbon emissions, a focus on food system-related solutions could deliver one-third of the greenhouse gas reductions necessary to halt the climate crisis.  

A message in the sky

Starting tonight, as the sun sets, the Eat Differently campaign will feature enchanting light animations from the drones, captivating spectators on both sides of the East River. At the outset of each performance, viewers will be prompted to scan a QR code suspended in the sky, directing them to the drone show’s affiliated campaigns.

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The NYC drone event is powered by Projecting Change, with support of Eat Differently, Avaaz, The Ford Foundation, The Oceanic Preservation Society, and TMRW. Additionally, the event has garnered the expertise of production partners including Nova Skystories, Minds Over Matter, Soren West, and HELO.

The visionary show is helmed by none other than Academy Award-winning director of The Cove and The Game Changers and CEO of Projecting Change, Louie Psihoyos. 

“Our creative teams have programmed 1,000 drones to dance over the New York City skyline to form magical creatures that deliver messages on how to save the planet—you won’t want to miss this show,” Psihoyos said in a statement.

This awe-inspiring drone art experience promises to be a visual feast for New Yorkers and visitors alike, serving as a reminder of the power of art and science to educate and inspire change for a more sustainable future.

NYC leads plant-based revolution

New York City is the ideal place to promote sustainable eating because it is already at the frontline of plant-based promotion in public institutions, thanks to New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Adams transitioned to a mostly plant-based diet in 2016 and felt widespread health benefits, including improving the painful symptoms he experienced as a result of type 2 diabetes. 

Adams has since used political capacities, both as Brooklyn Borough President and as NYC Mayor, to help others regain their health through plant-based interventions.

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Over the past year, NYC has expanded lifestyle medicine programs within its public healthcare system, launched a citywide initiative to train healthcare practitioners in nutrition education, and introduced plant-based menu options in public schools, hospitals, and other government service settings.

These initiatives have manifested impressive results, with patients reporting significant improvement in cardiometabolic health, including weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and reduction of other risk factors. 

Importantly, the shift to plant-based menu options supports NYC’s diverse communities and is anticipated to massively cut annual costs within the hospital system and reduce the city’s food-based carbon emissions. 

“Our plant-based diet approach is based around inclusion and diversity, rather than restriction and this foundation is crucial in continuing to shape positive public attitudes to plant-based diets,” Adams previously told VegNews. 

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