How We Began
Launched in the spring of 2015 in reaction to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans process, My Plate, My Planet represented nearly 200 leading environmental and health organizations and individuals in support of sustainability recommendations from the U.S. government appointed Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), an expert group of leading scientists.
Underscoring the link between human health and the environment, the DGAC’s scientific recommendations concluded that “linking health, dietary guidance, and the environment will promote human health and the sustainability of natural resources and ensure current and long-term food security.” Additionally, the DGAC scientists concluded that “a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet…”
My Plate, My Planet launched full-page advertisements in the New York Times, Washington Post and online on Politico. The campaign was established to provide a unified voice for leading environmental groups and individuals promoting the importance of linking human health and environmental sustainability in America’s official dietary policy. Working closely with other organizations, My Plate, My Planet helped raise public awareness and was involved in:
- Urging citizen comments to the U.S. agencies responsible for writing the guidelines (United States Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, USDA and HHS). Over 29,000 public comments were registered—a 14-fold increase from 2010 levels, described as “unprecedented” by HHS staff—with 75% favoring less meat, more plants and sustainability.
- A letter to USDA and HHS from mayors across the U.S. in support of a resolution from the United States Conference of Mayors. The resolution was passed unanimously by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and urged the full integration of the DGAC’s recommendations into the final guidelines.
- Increasing the visibility of a letter of support sent to Secretaries Vilsack and Burwell by more than 700 health professionals, including Yale University’s Dr. David Katz and Harvard University’s Dr. Walter Willett.
This effort helped change the national dialogue about the links among diet, health and the environment. Although the agencies writing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans ultimately rejected the scientific advisory committee’s recommendations regarding sustainability and significant meat reduction, the work done in 2015 laid important groundwork for future efforts to link diets and sustainability. This collective effort also identified vast public support for policies promoting sustainable food.
How We Grew
In the wake of the Paris COP21 climate talks in December 2015, countries around the world began to respond to the urgent call for action. Some forward-thinking countries have recognized that addressing climate change includes their food policy, production and consumption. Countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Brazil, and the U.K. have begun to take stock of environmental impact in their dietary guidelines recommendations, adopting more sustainable food principles that support personal and planetary health and food security. In April 2016, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2016-2025 the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition and governments endorsed the 2014 “Rome Declaration on Nutrition and Framework for Action.” This framework outlines goals for fighting food insecurity, including the need for global dietary guidelines and sustainable food production.
The dietary guidelines from Sweden, Brazil, the Netherlands and the UK each include “more plants, less meats” recommendations. The leadership of these nations shows the important role governments across the globe can play in ensuring a sustainable future for all. My Plate, My Planet seeks to support and encourage other countries, organizations, and millions of individuals to follow this example, and join together in a worldwide movement to save our world—one meal at a time.
How to Reach Us