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  • Michael Oshman

2020: We must act now.

It's 2020 and time to have clear vision to tackle the planet's gravest environmental issues. Founded in 1990, the Green Restaurant Association turns 30 this year. Over 3 decades, the GRA has brought sustainability to the forefront of the restaurant industry. The positive changes have been dramatic. Recycling and composting are normal in many places in the country. Vegetarian and vegan meats are mainstream. Energy-efficient lighting and equipment are prevalent. Bathrooms and kitchens have dramatically reduced their water consumption. Green Restaurant legislation has swept the country. Consumers are more educated and are demanding transparent and real change. That is the good news.

But, to tackle these issues completely, we need to shift from incremental to dramatic change. The industry needs to shift rapidly from a single-use throw-away mentality to a reusable mentality. And there are some great examples of restaurants already doing that. In this coming decade, we need to shift towards a safer and more sustainable food supply that does not depend on dangerous pesticides. Vegetarian and vegan food options on each menu need to cease being an interesting story and shift towards what is normal and expected. The technology is here. The demand from Millenials is here. The grave environmental issues are here. We have the perfect storm to solve these issues. The cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of action. We look forward to a successful year and decade working with the restaurant industry to take leadership in solving this planet's important environmental problems.

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