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"Today it is estimated that nearly 1/3 of green house gas emissions come from pollution caused by the production, processing and transportation of food. In collaboration with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, I have sponsored the first City Council resolution ever that addresses climate change through our food system. This resolution calls for a citywide initiative to increase the use of locally grown, healthy food and decrease the amount of pollution caused by food transportation, shipping and packaging."

In 2009, New York City councilman Bill de Blasio had already connected the dots between climate change and our dysfunctional food system. He co-sponsored along with Scott Stringer, The Resolution to Reduce NYC's Climate "Foodprint."

Farmer's Market, Union Square, NYC
Writing in Civil Eats, Mia McDonald, executive director of Brighter Green, reminds us of de Blasio's commitment to a "city-wide initiative that would establish climate-friendly food policies and programs, financial and technical support, a public awareness campaign regarding the city’s food consumption and production patterns and greater access to local, fresh, healthy food."

The resolution shows de Blasio's depth of knowledge regarding the agriculture sector's contribution to climate change. Come below the fold to see how unusual and impressive it is to hear a politician who actually understands the massive impact of livestock production on greenhouse gas emissions.

From the resolution:

Whereas, According to the Agricultural Role on Greenhouse Gas Mitigation
Report, conducted by the Pew Center on Climate Control, it is estimated that globally
one-third of all GHG emissions comes from agriculture and land use changes, and that
approximately 12% of the total GHG emissions per U.S. household result from growing,
packing, preparing and shipping food nationwide; and

Whereas, The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization calculated that
production of plant-based foods (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds) contributes significantly less to global warming than production of animal-based
foods, and that, globally, livestock operations emit 18% of total GHGs, significantly
more than the 13.1% emitted by the world's entire transportation sector[.]

In 2009, the New York Times took note of de Blasio's advocacy for sustainable food:
A similar bill calling for the creation of a FoodprintNYC has been proposed by Bill de Blasio, a Brooklyn councilman who is running for public advocate. The bill would encourage the city’s various agencies to coordinate and establish climate-friendly food policies and programs, as well as a public awareness campaign about the health and environmental impact of food. It draws heavily from recommendations in a report, “Food in the Public Interest,” by the office of the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer.

Mr. de Blasio said his vision was that everything from the Board of Education to the Housing Authority to the health department would focus on sustainable food — whether it worked through purchasing decisions or building green roofs on city buildings.

When Bill de Blasio was elected mayor of NYC, I was elated for the people of New York City for ending 21 years of Republican mayoral dominance and for electing a self described "unapologetic progressive." Now I am elated for all the rest of us, too. Mayor-elect de Blasio has a national megaphone which can be used to influence policy in other cities and even nationally.

The massive contribution (pdf) of agriculture, especially livestock production, to climate change, makes it the low-hanging fruit of climate change mitigation. Mayors across the U.S. have joined together in The United States Conference of Mayors/Climate Protection Center to share knowledge and policy strategy for mitigation and adaptation of climate change. Bill de Blasio has a unique opportunity to become a powerful national leader in mitigating climate change through bringing much needed reform to our dysfunctional agriculture system. The benefits are immense not only to New York City but to the U.S. in addressing our massive public health issues and to mitigating the worst effects of climate change.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for waving this flag (16+ / 0-)

    And thanks to Kos and staff for promoting your passion for the world to see. I love seeing Daily Kos becoming a leader in this movement, or at least getting this message out there on a regular basis. Drastically reducing the consumption of meat and the unneccesary transportation of food will eventually be the order of the day if we are to survive.


    Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

    by randallt on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 05:25:49 PM PST

  •  Phosophorous (9+ / 0-)

    So the big controversy of the later half of 2013 seems to be peak phosphorous.  Depending on how we look at it, we have somewhere between 50 and 300 years of phosphorous left in mines at current consumption.   The element is critical in the growth of food.  Just like most issue with agribussiness, the phosphorous is going to be last longer if we produce less meat.

    Conservatives and business interests deny that there is issue with phosphorous.  The ploy, like fossil fuels, it to maximize demand until it is consumed, then magically come up with another source in a few years, driven by market forces as the price increases due to scarcity.  These conservative forces do not want to have to innovate and risk near term profits by investing in things such as reclaiming efforts and other means by which we can avoid an abrupt need for changes in technology.

    Also like phosphorous, the people who are going to paying the costs are not the miners, the farmers, or will it even be spread out equally among the population.  No the costs will be paid for by the recreational water sport industry who will see lakes and rivers no longer suitable for swimming or boating or fishing due to phosphorous runoff.  This is similar to what happened with the BP oil spill, where many small businesses were permanently destroyed because of the destruction of the gulf coast habitat.  

  •  I'm glad that he's committed to the issue. (10+ / 0-)

    I think our biggest problem now is that people are essentially not understanding that we might have to make some lifestyle changes.

    You can tell people feel that way every time they ask if, (with our current system of support for oil and coal) we can do solar or wind cheaper.  If you factor in the damage that fossil fuels do, renewable is cheaper.  

    The same argument is even more true with food.  People find it increidbly difficult to change a lifetime of eating habits, even once you convince them that what they are eating is unhealthy.  Most people are incapable of conceiving that sort of change.  I did it but it wasn't easy.

  •  No diary on this topic would be complete without (9+ / 0-)

    a link to this wonderful 2009 diary by Eddic C. It was my introduction to Eddie C's beautiful photo diaries, and it illustrated the Lincoln Center Farmer's Market in eye-catching splendor. Mayor de Blasio already has a pretty good local food tradition in place on which New York City can build!

    I don't think Eddie would ever promote his own diary, so I had to do it. :-)

    "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

    by blue in NC on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 05:47:07 PM PST

  •  Let's hear it for green, progressive mayors. (11+ / 0-)

    Garcetti out here in L.A. is on the mark for Angelenos as well. To add to the comment just above, we could have whole forests growing on buildings to keep them cool (not to mention make a haven for urban wildlife).  The only problem then would be drainage and other logistics problems, but they are solvable.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 06:06:31 PM PST

  •  There's a sustainable way to eat meat. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Infected Zebra, Urban Owl, offgrid

    That is unless you're a person who believes that now animals anywhere should ever fart or take a dump. But one of the ideas that ends too much of the discussion about a different environment involve becoming a vegan. That's just not going to work, as most people care much more about their culinary life than that of animals.

    The way i see it, meat, eggs and dairy should be extremely expensive, but very much available. I certainly have no problem paying top dollar for farm fresh, Portlandia buzzword approved food. But, ill admit there's some class problems with that.

    •  For those of us who are essentially vegetarian (0+ / 0-)

      or eat organic or local, we should feel good about ourselves.  But it is those who still eat meat who can make the big difference now by simply cutting down on your meat consumption.  For example if you eat meat once a day, eat it once every other day, and maybe in smaller quantities.  Then you'll have reduced meat consumption by at least 50%.  Enough people doing that will go a long way.  It's not that hard.

  •  There's not too much food grown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer

    in the vicinity of NYC.

    Also, I don't think New Yorkers would be too happy with doing without certain foods out of season.

    •  Quite untrue. (8+ / 0-)

      In fact, NYS's 2nd largest industry is agriculture. You go upstate, or to Pennsylvania, or even Long Island shockingly...plenty of farming.

    •  Love you Catesby, read up on NYC regional ag. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VL Baker, tb mare

      We have 11,000 acres of black dirt muck actively farmed w/in 60 of NYC in Orange cty. Orchards, many from colonial times, pepper the region just north of that. (We're number 2 in apple production nationally.) Dairy? More than we can use but continually undercut by California and mid west prices. We are at the beginning stages of reestablishing our meat, poultry and egg producing capacity as well as processing plants for same. Nationally recognized wines as well as truck farms from Long Island add to this cornucopia.

      There is a difference of opinion with how locavores see local ag vs the avg shopper. Supporting local ag for the majority of people means buying from your region during the growing season, supplementing in off season from elsewhere. For instance, in season, only 15-20% of tomatoes passing through our major terminal markets come from our region's farmers. That can be greatly improved upon. Regulations dictating bidding structure for schools are very cumbersome and often leave local farmers at a distinct disadvantage. there's lots more to be done and much has already been accomplished.

      Back in the 70s, NYS, Texas and California were the most aggressive in using federal dollars to grow a local ag system. Those efforts are still bearing fruit.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 07:35:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Village is gonna hate this guy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, offgrid

    and hate on this guy. It's not just going to be the New York Post cheapshotting him at every chance they get.

    "This guy could start a trend."
    You can be a cold-hearted granny starvin' wingnut, or you can be a Bloomberg or Bloombergianesque clone, or you can be... no, no that's about it.
    "Next thing you know, you've got other mayors, even Governors, maybe future Presidents thinking about questioning what is possible."
    We are going to find out how tough he is. That is for sure.

    There is a lot of media hate for Elizabeth Warren, and for liberalism in general, because the Republican Party is seen by many of the guardians of our discourse as the natural majority/leadership party. The GOP gets a great two-fer, they get a useful tool for attacking non-Conservative policy ideas and a useful foil to claim is as leftwing as an East German Publishing Collective when they aren't enjoying the 'liberal media' pathologically sneering at liberals and non-Conservative ideas for governance.

    A Senator is one thing, a Governor, or a big city Mayor, is quite another.

    The mayor of New York City?

    I'm betting that is a potential national progressive icon too far. Too far for a class of very wealthy out-of-touch people who long for Social Security cuts, delivered by Democrats who are fighting with each other to fall on their swords first to get it done, to be the bipartisan consensus for the ruling elite on how to get things done.

    I think Mayor Bill is in for some serious Village flung shit.

    Maybe setting the bar for it.

    Well, until the day that, say, Elizabeth Warren leaves the Senate to run for Governor of Massachusetts should that day ever come. Then the EWDS we saw so far becomes patty-cakes by comparison.

    I think one of the biggest reasons why so many media-types want to see a Clinton Warren 2016 race, other than it wold amuse them and it would give them a wing of the library of Congress' worth of copy right up until it was all over, is that they expect that Warren would have any national ambitions she might or might not have ended once and for all when she loses in the end. I think that is how they picture it. A way to end the phenomena of Warren getting too out of hand or having too much vast and unlimited potential for expansion.

    I think there is a lot of imagining Senator Warren as being in a box called 'being a Senator'. Elizabeth Warren Derangement Syndrome seems to have eased a bit as she has become a new institution in the Senate. They can try to imagine her confined by the job of being Senator, by what the body allows to be possible or not. Limited by the institution. More of a check on wingnuttery and the new Barney Frank in terms of embarrassing the powerful and the incompetent with a verbal scalpel. 'At least' I imagine a Fred Hiatt thinking to re-assure himself, 'she is not the executive of a state in a governor's office, or a big city mayor who could use being in charge of a major American city to start re-defining what is possible in governance in America'.

    DeBlasio? Mayor DeBlasio? Thinking about food, hunger, public policy, climate change, and social and public responsibility? As a interrelated web? Where lots of things previously not considered for their lack of cold-blooded bottom line bang for the buck?  

    This isn't Rahm Emmanuel, that is for sure. Or a Mayor Quan in Oakland sneering at Occupy.

    "When are you going to kick a union, or all of them if you want, to make us feel better about you?"

    I'm doubting that Mr. Mayor is going to be spending all of his time wining and dining the Michelle Rhees and consulting Simpson and Bowles League regional major minor leaguers on city budgeting priorities.  

    There are other progressive mayors who are doing some wonderfully progressive things. But they don't have the eyes of the world on them. For good and for bad.

    What's a wanker to do about Bill DeBlasio?

    He has the agenda, and the sort of city that is a great American stage for political theatre because his city is the great media Village city.

    I think a lot of the traditional media is bumfuzzled by what to do about the new progressive wave in American politics. I think each new addition to the pantheon has been followed by some serious rationalizations on how so-and-so and such-and-such are an aberration or a fluke or are limited by their job title in ways that the establishment are approving of.

    The tipping point from being snarkily dismissive to openly sneering during campaigns and then quietly hand-wringing when the 'wrong' person wins a seat of power is... when somebody who could send the Very Serious flock flailing to the great fainting couch is a Governor. Or. Say the mayor of a really, really big and important US city?

    And this is why I think a tidal wave of backbiting shit is headed this new mayor's way.  

    The Trend panic.

    Bill DeBlasio does not run to see what Tom Friedman or Joe Klein thinks is the limits of what is possible in governance. He isn't embarrassed or ashamed to get behind the idea that you can not just not hurt people but actually help people as well as do all the other things that go along with running a big city or a state.  

    And he has a grand laboratory for re-defining what is possible in public policy. He is going to do things that are going to get enacted that won't get obstructed to death or strangled in the public policy cribs that comfort the gods and monsters of human events in America.

    I'm expecting he will be grateful for hip waders after a year or so.

    A NYC Meatless Monday resolution? Why not?

    At least he isn't ruling it all out at the door on his way in.

    This is a good time for those expecting better and more. So far so good.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 06:29:41 PM PST

  •  Before all things Bloomberg get tossed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Citizenpower, randallt, Urban Owl, offgrid

    into the "Bad Old Days" folder, I'd like to give a shout out to David Hurd, B's recycling/conservation point man, who's done a pretty darn good job of concentrating efforts to make the city an engine for green growth.

    David's a really smart guy, and if de B is, too, he'll find a place for him in the new admin.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 06:39:57 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this diary VL. NYC has been cutting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VL Baker

    edge for quite sometime in this dept. DeBlasio looks like his admin will pull out the stops for this effort.

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

    by the fan man on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 07:55:53 PM PST

    •  here's hoping. He understands the issues so (0+ / 0-)

      he is already far ahead of most.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Mon Dec 30, 2013 at 04:33:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This could be really exciting. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VL Baker

        I'm looking forward to watching de Blasio on a number of issues, with food and greening the city now among them.

        Thanks for the diary.

        --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

        by Fiona West on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 01:40:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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