Where’s the beef? Not on the plates of Basalt Town Council members | AspenTimes.com

Where’s the beef? Not on the plates of Basalt Town Council members

Basalt Town Council members are taking “going green” to a new level — right to their dinner plates.

The council decided Tuesday night they will go meatless when they have dinner during council meetings. The council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays each month. The town government supplies dinner on the taxpayers’ dime.

Councilwoman Katie Schwoerer suggested forgoing meat, noting that the council is moving forward with numerous initiatives to reduce the town’s carbon emissions and take action on climate issues.

“One small thing we can do as a council is buy into only having vegetarian dinners during our council meetings and any other meetings as a town host,” she said.

Schwoerer didn’t discuss the reasoning. However, there is mounting evidence that if the world’s population shifted toward plant-based diets and reduced meat consumption, it would help slow climate change. A United Nations report released in August details how meat production relates to carbon emissions.

Schwoerer acknowledged going meatless is a small thing. She apparently spotted a look of skepticism on the face of fellow council member Gary Tennenbaum.

“You can do it, Gary,” she said in an encouraging voice.

“Soy is just not my friend,” he replied.

Schwoerer said the council doesn’t have to eat soy. The plan is to go vegetarian, not vegan, she said.

The council happened to have fried chicken as its official meal Tuesday. Tennenbaum noted that Councilman Auden Schendler looked like he was enjoying his chicken dinner. Schendler arrived late and was eating during the meeting after missing the dinner break.

“Because it’s my last supper,” Schendler quipped. He then endorsed Schwoerer’s proposal.

“It’s one meal every two weeks. There’s all sorts of cool options out there and it’s a good statement,” Schendler said.

Mayor Jacque Whitsitt noted council members could eat meat before they arrived for a town meeting or bring their own if they didn’t want to go vegetarian.

Going meatless is only a small part of the Basalt council broader green agenda. On Aug. 27, the council unanimously approved a resolution endorsing the declaration of a climate emergency. As part of that approval, the council pledged to examine climate issues in all its decision and policies. Declaring a climate crisis is catching on with governments around the world.

On Tuesday, the council reviewed a report prepared by the Community Office for Resource Efficiency that inventoried the town’s carbon emissions. The council worked with its Green Team on policies and projects to reduce the emissions.

The council also approved an ordinance that updates sustainable building regulations in its building code.