“I think sometimes we wonder what we can do in this fight against climate change, and there’s something that you can do today, right now, and tomorrow, by making a choice about what you consume”. Joaquin Phoenix, who recently starred as the main character in Todd Phillips’ Joker, made this appeal just before being arrested during an environmental demonstration organised by activist and actress Jane Fonda on the 10th of January.
Phoenix has been vegan since he was three. While with his brother he saw a fish being violently killed and realised he didn’t want to contribute to similar practices, in any way. Since then he has never stopped trying to raise awareness about the importance of consumer choices. His activism has led him to being named person of the year by animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and he’s also been able to influence the world of Hollywood to the extent that the food that will offered at one of the most important award season events – the Oscars pre-party – will have a plant-based menu.
Catering has been entrusted to Nic’s on Beverly, a popular LA restaurant owned by Nic Adler, the Food and Beverage Curator for the Coachella music festival. The chef has designed a menu that disproves all myths about veganism causing major limitations to food choices: from burgers to spaghetti, from falafels to meatballs and even tacos, everything is completely plant-based.
The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, have added their name to the list of events offering plant-based menus. The ceremony will take place on the 9th of February at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
The food served during the nomination party and the canapés at the ceremony will be vegan. The menu for the Governors Ball, a party that takes places immediately after the ceremony during which the statues are engraved, will be mostly vegan. Vegetarian dishes, as well as fish and meat, will be available but with a smaller amount of options. Plastic bottles and containers have also been banned at all the events.
Todd Phillips wrote @jokermovie’s Arthur Fleck with Joaquin Phoenix in mind. “I didn’t know him at all, but I knew and loved his work. For me, as a writer, it always helps me to write with an actor in mind.” pic.twitter.com/8cZ8z9q53n
Alongside all these initiatives, Veganuary also took place during the first month of the year. Phoenix is an ambassador for this month devoted to vegan eating that aims to raise awareness about more ethical food consumption.
Something I think isn’t oftentimes talked about in the environmental movement or in the conversation about climate change is that the meat and dairy industry is the third leading cause of climate change.Joaquin Phoenix
Both within and outside the Hollywood universe, opportunities to discuss how agriculture and climate change are related have multiplied. For example, for the first time, Veganuary also took hold in Italy, promoted by animal rights organisation Essere Animali and famous cartoonist Bruno Bozzetto.
The shift towards more compassionate and cruelty-free foods is spreading all over the world. It’s wonderful to see events as big and popular as the Oscars trying to improve, in the hope that next year even the last few meat dishes will be taken off the menu.
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