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Berkeley Joins Meatless 'Green Mondays' Movement

BERKELEY (KPIX 5) -- There is a new move in Berkeley to chip away at the causes of climate change. The idea is to cut down on the consumption of animal products, especially meat.

Nine years ago, Berkeley City Councilmember Sophie Hahn converted her entire back yard into a vegetable garden. The results surprised even her.

"We are able to grow enough food in this relatively average-size garden in Berkeley for six families," said Hahn.

She still eats meat, but the experiment convinced Hahn that eating less meat might be a good idea. Last week, she and two other colleagues convinced the city council to join a worldwide movement known as "Green Mondays." The idea is to forego the eating of any animal products one day a week as a way to combat climate change.

"It doesn't have to be a Monday, but to get people to reduce the amount of meat they eat in the aggregate," said Hahn. "It's not about going to zero, it's about reducing."

The production of meat and dairy products generates a lot of greenhouse gases, Now, one day each week, the city will only serve vegan foods at any of its facilities or meetings. Hahn admits it is largely symbolic since the city itself doesn't really serve a lot of meals to residents or employees.

"It will have a real impact on what we serve as a city and what eat as a council," said Hahn. But more than anything, it's so that we can really provide a real example and we can inspire other people to think about what they're consuming."

Which day of the week will become vegan is still up in the air.  It will be up to the city manager to work out the details of the plan. The "Green Mondays" resolution also calls for a public education campaign and an incentive program to encourage local restaurants to serve more vegan items on their menu.

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