The world’s first vegetarian city
by David Masters
May 19, 2009
In an effort to prove that the United Nations is not completely ignored by everybody, city councillors in Belgium have decided to follow UN advice on food habits and impose a vegetarian diet on residents for one day per week.
According to the UN, livestock is responsible for a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the world must reduce its meat consumption if it is to have any chance of fighting global warming.
Last year, the head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr Rajendra Pachauri, said the world’s population must cut back on eating meat and move towards vegetarianism.
Pachauri suggests starting by eating vegetarian food for one day per week – and this is the action being taken by Ghent city council to reduce its carbon footprint and tackle obesity in the city.
Civil servants and elected council officials at Ghent City Council will not be fed meat at their workplace eateries on Thursdays.
City residents will be encouraged to follow their lead, and from September, school children will find meat taken off the canteen menu on Thursdays.
Local restaurants are being urged to replace their Thursday menu with meatfree dishes, and to only offer meat that day as part of a special smaller menu.
In addition, 90,000 vegetarian street maps are being printed to help residents and visitors find the best places in the city for veggie food.
Announcing the veggie day, city councillor Tom Balthazar told Ghent residents that the move will be “good for the climate, your health, and your tastebuds.”
According to research by the University of Southampton, children with a high IQ are more likely to become vegetarian as an adult.
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