Members of Congress are subjected to plenty of scrutiny — from constituents, the press, and now, from vegan egg sandwiches.
Eat Just, a brand of plant-based “eggs,” is plastering a series of advertisements around Washington DC ahead of Earth Day on 22 April, in order to shame certain members of Congress for inaction on the climate crisis. And, as an added dig, they’ll be driving a food truck serving vegan egg sandwiches named after a few select senators.
Some of the ads broadly call out inaction from the legislative branch of the government. “This egg sandwich is more effective against climate change than Congress,” reads one. (The company’s website says that their product uses significantly less water, land, and emissions to create than regular eggs.)
Other ads — plus the sandwiches — take aim at specific lawmakers. One sandwich is dubbed “Ted Cruz’s Cancun Vacation” and consists of vegan egg, plant-based pepper jack “cheese”, spinach and and chipotle aioli.
It’s a reference to the Texas Republican’s much-maligned visit to the Mexican resort during a severe winter storm last year in his home state which left thousands of people without running water or electricity. At least one study has connected weather events, like the one in Texas, to the climate crisis.
Another sandwich, “Rick Scott’s Special Interest Sammy”, containing plant-based American cheese and tomato aioli, calls out the Florida senator and current National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman.
A third sandwich, entitled “Inhofe’s Hot and Cold Special,” says it comes served with a snow cone, referencing Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe’s 2015 stunt of bringing a snowball into Congress, in order to claim that the climate crisis was not real because there was snow outside. (The sandwich/snow cone combo will not actually be available at the food truck, as the truck notes that Senator Inhofe is retiring.)
The three senators with sandwich honors are all Republicans, but at least one ad mock-up also asks Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, to pass the reconciliation bill debated late last year.
That measure, commonly known as the Build Back Better Act, includes an array of climate-related provisions including investments in clean energy and electric vehicles, among other social spending issues. The bill would have needed all 50 Democratic senators to pass in the evenly divided chamber but came to a standstill after the party, including and notably Senator Manchin, failed to agree on a final framework.
The ads direct people to a webpage for Eat Just where they can send a message urging their members of Congress to act on the climate crisis, though it doesn’t mention any specific policies.
“We’re not the policy experts,” Tom Rossmeissl, Eat Just’s head of global marketing, told The Independent. “But if you look at the reconciliation package that was being negotiated last year, that had a lot of the kind of elements that would, in a meaningful way, start addressing climate change.”
Mr Rossmeissl says that the company has previously focused on the benefits of a plant-based diet but, in light of the recent dire warnings of the United Nation’s IPCC climate report, that focus alone seemed “inadequate for the moment”.
“Individual lifestyle change is important, but it’s not enough,” Mr Rossmeissl said.
The ads have shown up in Washington as of this week, and the food truck will operate in neighborhoods across the city next Thursday through the following Wednesday.