Cllr Paul Bell – Co-operatively working to save our plant for all

Lewisham Council adopted a vegan catering policy for events on council-owned premises in 2020. Why?At that time, the Council – a member of the CCIN – was declaring a climate emergency. We all know the massive impact agriculture has on the plant, and I was determined to change the debate to make sure this was not lost. The controlling Labour Group, worked as a whole and declared our climate emergency co-operatively and together.

Lewisham has a very diverse population. Many people have made the UK their home and as such we all have a global duty to fight for communities who are at the forefront of the consequences of climate change. There is another dimension for me. Four and a half years ago, I became vegan. This was not just an environmental choice; it was because of a life-long commitment to animals. I became vegetarian at the age of sixteen in 1987, but I finally became vegan in 2018. My health has never been better.

If we are to live in harmony, we need to recognise that we are part of a community on this plant. You may ask what this has to do with co-operation? Well, when we work in balance with our plant, respect and recognise the sentience of others, we are at peace with ourselves. Co-operation is not about competition. It is about working together for shared goals. What greater goal is there than to save the plant, animals and ourselves?