US assigns first Biodiversity and Water representative to fight climate crisis

Author: Molly Pickering

Read Time:   |  10th October 2022

Monica Medina has been appointed Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources as the US reveals it is taking "meaningful" steps to tackle the climate crisis

Monica Medina has been appointed Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources in the US.

The new role was created as part of the US government’s plan to fight against climate change.

Medina, who is a US attorney currently serving as the Department of State’s Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, was appointed by the Biden administration last week to protect land and water while conserving habitats abroad.

In an interview, Monica Medina shared: “There’s a direct connection between biodiversity loss and instability in a lot of parts of the world.

“It’s not just about nature for nature’s sake. I think it is about people.”

Medina’s new position comes just weeks before the US prepares to host a major biodiversity conference in Montreal in December.

The U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, also known as COP-15, bring nations together to build and adopt a universal framework for conserving biodiversity and fighting against species extinction.

Biden’s administration has already made efforts to reinstate the protection of three national monuments – measures that had been cut during Trump’s time in office – but further actions are yet to be revealed.

New York City hospitals go vegan

In the same week that the US appoints its first diplomat for animals and plants, it was announced that public hospitals in New York are set to have plant-based meals as the default menu choice.

Earlier this year public hospitals under the NYC Health + Hospitals administration made plant-based meals the default choice for lunchtimes in an aim to fight against diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.

Although patients can still request non-vegan meals, the hospital has reported that the majority of patients have stuck to the plant-based option.

“Nutritious, healthy food should be available wherever New Yorkers are, but especially in institutions that are meant to restore health,” says Ashwin Vasan ScM, MD, PhD, commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“It starts with us, and we must lead by example.”

NYC Health + Hospitals’ new plant-based dinner policy is already in place at three locations, with plans to bring it to its remaining eight sites in the coming months.

Want to do your bit to fight against climate change? Here are 10 simple steps to reduce your carbon footprint

Feature image credit: the_burtons/Getty Images

Written by

Molly Pickering

When she's not reporting the latest vegan news, Molly's other passions are tattoos, 80’s horror and good vegan food

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