With the 50th anniversary of Earth Day approaching in 2020, Effect Partners sought out to educate consumers, influencers and policy makers about the intersection of climate change, food systems and personal diets. While they share many of the same objectives, for too long the environmental and vegan movements have largely operated separately with little collaboration or synergy between major organizations that represent their agendas. And, despite climate concerns reaching all-time highs, those who self-identify as vegan or vegetarian remain in the low single digits. The time was right to spark unity between the two movements and amplify the fact that moving towards a plant-based lifestyle is the simplest and most impactful action that Americans can take to reduce their personal climate footprint.
Planning started in 2018 by orchestrating a grant between a vegan focused foundation and Earth Day Network, which would become the central hub for the campaign. Earth Day Network produces the world’s largest secular event in the world with billions of people participating. A multi-phased approach was implemented to build the movement and share the “Fight Climate Change with Diet Change” message. An ambassador program featuring known food/environmental activists and influencers was developed; a consumer education campaign for college students was deployed; a partnership was formed with Yale University to conduct a study revealing the diet-climate change connection; and a press event was held featuring an Olympic medalist, vegan activist, climate change author and CEO of a plant-based food company. While COVID-19 impeded a physical 50th anniversary rally on the national mall in D.C., a 3-day virtual event was live-streamed showcasing chefs and celebrities making plant-based dishes, featuring discussion from activists/influencers and previewing an athlete PSA illustrating a successful plant-based lifestyle. Effect Partners assisted with the rally’s production and brought in several key celebrities including Roger Waters, Billy Bragg and Ziggy Marley to participate in the rally.
A clear connection was made between climate and diet change. More than 20 organizations and 15 youth ambassadors joined the campaign and Earth Day Network coalition. Campaign representatives participated in more than 15 events reaching more than 100,000 individuals in the months leading up to the 50th anniversary. The survey commissioned by Earth Day Network conducted with Yale University was picked up by more than a dozen outlets, reaching an audience of over 50 million. More than 1,500 colleges or student groups downloaded the campaign toolkit. Additionally, the signature PSA received nearly 500,000 impressions the day of the launch. The #EatMorePlants hashtag received nearly 5,000 unique posts, reaching nearly 20 million people online.