February 7, 2005

2/7/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

This update/Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Online Newsletter has the following items:

1. Food crisis Foreseen: Modern Day Yosef (Joseph) Needed?

2. More On Global Warming Threats

3. Kosher Group Promotes More Humane Eating

4. Major Article on Religion and Vegetarianism/JVNA is Mentioned

5. Church Of England Supports Sustainable Consumption

6. Material from the Canfei Nesharim Newsletter

7. Planning for World Vegetarian Day, 2005

8. Sierra Club Press Release on Bush Administration Energy Policies

9. New York Times Editorial on Some Human Costs of Meat Production

10. Some Republican Leaders Joining the Battle against Global Warming

11. Are Mercury Regulations Biased Towards Industry?

12. Action Alert: Saving Wild Horses

Some material has been deferred to a later update/newsletter to keep this one from being even longer.

[Materials in brackets like this [ ] within an article or forwarded message are my editorial notes/comments.]

Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the JVNA, unless otherwise indicated, but may be presented to increase awareness and/or to encourage respectful dialogue. Also, information re conferences, retreats, forums, trips, and other events does not necessarily imply endorsements by JVNA, but may be presented for informational purposes. Please use e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and web sites to get further information about any event that you are interested in.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.


1. Food crisis Foreseen: Modern Day Yosef (Joseph) Needed?
Earth Policy Institute
February 3, 2005

By Lester R. Brown

"In recent months, rising oil prices have focused the world's attention on the depletion of oil reserves. But the depletion of underground water resources from overpumping is a far more serious issue," says Lester R. Brown in his new book, "Outgrowing the Earth: The Food Security Challenge in an Age of Falling Water Tables and Rising Temperatures." "Excessive pumping for irrigation to satisfy food needs today almost guarantees a decline in food production tomorrow." (http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/Out/Contents.htm in pdf and html)

"There are substitutes for oil, but there are no substitutes for water," said Brown, President and Founder of the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based independent environmental research organization.

The growth in world population since 1950 exceeds that during the preceding 4 million years. Perhaps more striking, the world economy has expanded sixfold since 1950. As the economy grows, its demands are outgrowing the earth, exceeding many of the planet's natural capacities to provide food, water, and the basic needs of daily living.

Evidence of these excessive demands can be seen in collapsing fisheries, shrinking forests, expanding deserts, rising atmospheric CO2 levels, eroding soils, rising temperatures, disappearing species, falling water tables, melting glaciers, deteriorating grasslands, rising seas, and rivers that are running dry. Nearly all these environmental trends affect world food security.

Two of the newer trends-falling water tables and rising temperatures-are making it far more difficult for the world's farmers to adequately feed the 76 million people added to our numbers each year.

Brown notes in Outgrowing the Earth that humans drink nearly 4 quarts of water a day in one form or another, but the food we consume each day requires 2,000 quarts of water to produce, or 500 times as much.

Agriculture is the most water-intensive sector of the economy: 70 percent of all water pumped from underground or diverted from rivers is used for irrigation. Twenty percent is used by industry and 10 percent goes to residences.

Water tables are now falling in countries that contain over half the world's people. While numerous analysts and policymakers are concerned about a future of water shortages, few have connected the dots to see that a future of water shortages means a future of food shortages.

Of even more concern, the vast majority of the nearly 3 billion people to be added to world population by mid-century will come in countries where water tables are already falling and wells are going dry. Historically it was the supply of land that constrained the growth in food production, but today the shortage of water is the most formidable barrier.

Rising temperatures are the second big threat to future food security. During the last few years, crop ecologists focusing on the precise relationship between temperature and crop yields have found that each 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature during the growing season reduces the yield of grain-wheat, rice, and corn-by 10 percent.

Since 1970, the earth's average temperature has risen nearly 0.7 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit). The five warmest years during 124 years of record keeping began in 1880 occurred in the last seven years.

In 2002, record-high temperatures and drought lowered grain harvests in both India and the United States. These reduced harvests helped pull world grain production some 90 million tons below consumption, a shortfall of more than 4 percent.

In 2003, it was Europe that bore the brunt of rising temperatures. The record-breaking heat wave that claimed 35,000 lives in eight countries withered grain harvests in virtually every country from France in the west through the Ukraine in the east. The resulting reduction in Europe's grain production of some 30 million tons was equal to half the U.S. wheat harvest.

Although climate change is now widely discussed, we are slow to grasp its full meaning for food security. Everyone knows that the earth's temperature is rising, but commodity analysts often condition their projections on weather returning to "normal," failing to realize that with climate now in flux there is no "normal" to return to.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of some 2,000 eminent scientists, projects that the earth's average temperature will rise during this century by 1.4-5.8 degrees Celsius (2-10 degrees Fahrenheit). Young farmers now on the land face the prospect of higher temperatures than any generation of farmers since agriculture began.

Higher temperatures in mountainous regions alter the precipitation mix, increasing rainfall and reducing snowfall. The result is more flooding during the rainy season and less snowmelt to feed rivers during the dry season. In Asia, for example, this shift is affecting the flow of the major rivers that originate in the vast Himalayan-Tibetan region, including the Indus, Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze, and Yellow.

"The world has been slow to respond to these new threats to food security," says Brown. In four of the last five years the world grain harvest has fallen short of consumption. As a result, world grain stocks are now at their lowest level in 30 years. Another large world grain shortfall in 2005 could drop stocks to the lowest level on record and send world food prices into uncharted territory of rising food prices.

Among the three grains that dominate the world food supply-wheat, rice, and corn-the supply of rice is likely to tighten first simply because it is the most water-dependent of the three grains. Finding enough water to expand rice production is not easy in a world with spreading water scarcity. If rice supplies tighten and prices rise, the higher prices will then likely spread to wheat, the other principal food grain.

Perhaps the biggest agricultural reversal in recent times has been the precipitous decline in China's grain production by 50 million tons between 1998 and 2004. Since 1998 China has covered this decline by drawing down its once-massive stocks of grain. Now stocks are largely depleted and China is turning to the world market. Its purchase of 8 million tons of wheat to import in 2004 could signal the beginning of a shift from a world food economy dominated by surpluses to one dominated by scarcity.

Overnight, China has become the world's largest wheat importer. Yet it will almost certainly import even more wheat in the future, not to mention vast quantities of rice and corn. It is this potential need to import 30, 40, or 50 million tons of grain annually within the next few years and the associated emergence of a politics of food scarcity that is likely to put food security on the front pages of newspapers.

At the other end of the spectrum is Brazil, the only country with the potential to expand world cropland area markedly. But what will the environmental consequences be of continuing to clear and plow Brazil's vast interior? Will the soils sustain cultivation over the longer term? And how many plant and animal species will Brazil sacrifice to expand its exports of soybeans?

"World food security is a far more complex issue today than it was a generation ago," says Brown. "In earlier times, if world grain supplies tightened, the United States simply returned some of its idled cropland to production, quickly expanding the harvest and reestablishing price stability. That commodity set-aside program was phased out in 1995, depriving the world of this ready reserve of cropland that could be quickly brought into production."

Today food security-once the exclusive province of agricultural ministers-is a far more complex issue. It is perhaps a commentary on the complexity of our time that decisions made in ministries of energy can have a greater effect on future food security than those made in ministries of agriculture. Policies formulated by ministers of water resources can also directly affect food production and food prices. And with irrigation water availability per person shrinking for the world as a whole, ministries of health and family planning may also have a greater effect on future food security than ministries of agriculture.

The three principal steps needed to secure future world food supplies are worldwide efforts to raise water productivity, cut carbon emissions, and stabilize population. If countries do not act quickly to raise water productivity, falling water tables could soon translate into rising food prices. Given the effect of rising temperatures on crop yields, the urgency of cutting carbon emissions sharply cannot easily be overstated.

Fortunately we now have the technologies to do this. For example, if the United States over the next decade were to shift its whole automobile fleet to highly efficient gas-electric hybrid engines with efficiencies comparable to today's Toyota Prius, the country could easily cut gasoline use in half.

On the supply side, the potential for cutting coal use and carbon emissions by developing wind resources to generate electricity has enormous potential. In Europe, which is leading the world into the wind era, and where coal mines are closing, some 40 million Europeans now get their residential electricity from wind farms. By 2020, half of Europe's 400 million people are projected to get their residential electricity from wind.

These are but two of the hundreds of steps that can be taken worldwide to cut carbon emissions and stabilize climate. Ironically, given the role of automobiles in raising the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that drive climate change, the fuel efficiency of the vehicle we drive to the supermarket may affect the price of the foodstuffs inside the supermarket.

"Many Americans see terrorism as the principal threat to security," said Brown, "but for much of humanity, the effect of water shortages and rising temperatures on food security are far more important issues. For the 3 billion people who live on 2 dollars a day or less and who spend up to 70 percent of their income on food, even a modest rise in food prices can quickly become life-threatening. For them, it is the next meal that is the overriding concern."

- end -

Lester R. Brown is President of the Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble.

For additional information contact: Lester R. Brown, Author & President (202) 496.9290 x 11
Janet Larsen, Research Associate (202) 496.9290 x 14

Earth Policy Institute
1350 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 403
Washington, DC 20036
Email: lesterbrown(at)earth-policy.org

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2. More On Global Warming Threats

Climate eggheads conclude we're toast, not sure when we'll hear the ding

A three-day scientific conference on global warming in Exeter, U.K., that wrapped up today vividly illustrates the frustrating current state of the climate-change debate. There was a palpable sense of urgency among the scientists in attendance, as various studies predicted that global warming will yield rising sea levels, outbreaks of infectious disease, droughts, floods, famine, and up to 150 million "environmental refugees" fleeing arid or submerged land. Poor countries in South Asia and Africa are expected to be hardest hit, but aside from some areas of Canada and Russia that may become newly habitable, virtually every part of the world could see ill effects. Looming in the background was the poorly understood but widely acknowledged possibility of abrupt, catastrophic, irreversible climate change of the sort that was recently overdramatized in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow." But just when all the gloomy predictions will come to pass is unknown. Scientists are still unable to answer the question U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair put at the center of the conference: "What level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is self-evidently too much?"

straight to the source: New Scientist, Jenny Hogan, 01 Feb 2005

straight to the source: The Guardian, Paul Brown, 03 Feb 2005

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3. Kosher Group Promotes More Humane Eating

[While the group discussed below is not vegetarian, it might provide a transition for people not yet ready to completely give up animal products.]

Forwarded message:


Our Mission at EarthKosher is to contribute to the healing of the world.

We make this contribution by:

* Making known via the internet Kosher health foods and healing products that are of exceptional quality.

* Making more health foods and healing products available to the Kosher consumer by providing Kosher certification to companies that meet our halakhic, health, environmental and social standards.

* Making known via the internet Western doctors who practice Alternative Medicine, licensed practitioners of Alternative Medicine and Psychologist's and Psychiatrists who work within a holistic framework.

* Making known via the internet books on healing, diet, medicine and psychology of exceptional value and wisdom.

Copyright ©2004 earthKosher.com All Rights Reserved.
Web Design by Beholdweb.com
Background message by the group’s founder:

It would be helpful to be mentioned in your newsletter etc. I do understand the issues from a vegetarian perspective but I think it should be explained that these companies will in the next coming years be a miniscule aspect of what we promote. I would also argue that it is better that they eat organic then non organic animal food and as well the animals are raised in a more environmentally sustainable way then normative.

If your advisory board has people or your community as a whole has people that want to see more high quality vegetarian products that are kosher certified, please consider informing then about that aspect of our work even if the meat promotion is objectionable.

We are the only company that is focused exclusively on Kosher certification that on principle only certifies health food companies that show a regard for human health and the environment. If your community knows of products they would love to see kosher we accept referrals and offer a 10% finders fee (10% of the first years "licensing" fee). It usually amounts to 100-200 dollars. We offer low cost Kosher certification on principle that is reliable and accepted.

With thanks & have a safe and special trip,

Zecharyah Goldman

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4. Major Article on Religion and Vegetarianism/JVNA is Mentioned

PETA's pulpit: Jesus was a vegetarian?
Article published Jan 4, 2005

Meat and religious ceremony share a long history, a link so sacred that severing it may seem blasphemous to some.

Then there are others who assert that following an omnivorous diet is a sin all its own.

Neither group wants to waver. And neither wants to be told what to believe or, more importantly, how to eat.

But for almost a year now, one organization has taken an extreme stance on encouraging non-vegetarians to reconsider.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has launched an advertising campaign with a bite -- one that suggests good Christians steer clear of flesh consumption, and that Jesus would have agreed with such advice.

Spearheaded by Bruce Friedrich, PETA's director of vegan campaigns, the movement pushes a hard-to-swallow message. A billboard depicts a piglet beside the sentence, "He died for your sins," and a photograph of chickens carries the caption "Holocaust on your plate." [While agreeing with PETA’s objectives, we strongly disagree with Holocaust comparisons and some other aspects of PETA’s philosophy and actions.] Bloody bobble heads of Kentucky Fried Chicken's iconic Col. Sanders have been sent to the media (last week, McDonald's
said it would consider different methods of slaughtering chickens). The
technique is testing viewers' digestive fortitude.

"People will always continue to argue that eating meat is OK. But it's no more defensible than slavery is defensible," Friedrich said. "I have yet to hear a cogent argument against that."

David Martosko, director of research for the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), based in Washington, D.C., would like to make one.

CCF's mission is to protect consumers by informing them about groups infringing upon their food and beverage choices. PETA, in Martosko's estimation, is one of the most notorious infringers. [JVNA believes (and I think PETA does too) that people should have a choice in their diets, but that the choice should be based on a knowledge of the realities of the production and consumption of animal products, and how they infringe upon basic religious values.]

"These people are twisting Scripture to their own ends. This is in-your-face, bare-knuckle bar fighting," Martosko said. "Friedrich's campaign is based on the flawed premise that Jesus was a vegetarian. But Jesus celebrated Passover his entire life (in which lamb is significant). [I believe that the significant question is what diet Jesus would have today, at a time of mass production and consumption of animal products, with many resulting problems.]

"This campaign is wrong and it's sacrilegious in my mind."

PETA produced a pamphlet 10 months ago arguing otherwise, citing religious justifications for the vegetarian lifestyle.

This free information was endorsed by Christian Vegetarian Association board member the Rev. John Dear, author of "Christianity and Vegetarianism: Pursuing the Nonviolence of Jesus."

The text stated that, in the United States, more than 9 billion land animals and15 billion marine life-forms are killed each year by throat-slitting, suffocation, bodily decompression and crushing. Friedrich added that pigs and cows are castrated without pain relief, and that chickens have their beaks sliced off without anesthetics.

"My hunch is that most Christians, most Americans actually, would not want to slit animals' throats open," Friedrich said. "Morally speaking, there's no difference between eating a chicken and eating a cat. It is entirely arbitrary. And Biblically speaking, the earth is on loan to us and we're supposed to be stewards."

To back up Friedrich's Biblical claim, the brochure also includes this passage from Genesis 1:29: "God said, 'See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the Earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.'"

While some may contend that such Biblical statements are open to interpretation, Friedrich said he feels that they are clearly on his side. He said that the results of the last presidential election are proof that moral values, such as his, are becoming paramount in American society. Therefore, he said, those values are "guiding the faithful toward a more-humane way of eating."

The faithful tend to be the harbingers, he said, as they were the first to challenge slavery and to advocate women's suffrage.

But Martosko said he believes that Friedrich is the opposite of progressive, and that his campaign strategies are counterproductive and alienating. PETA recently attacked the methods of a kosher meat producer in Iowa, and enraged Jewish groups in early 2004 by comparing Nazi Holocaust victims to farm animals, Martosko said.

He added that Friedrich has also previously defended arson of slaughterhouses and medical research labs that conduct animal testing. [I have been in contact with Bruce Friedrich for many years, and have never heard him make such statements.]

"What I object to is hijacking religion for a political end. We've all gotreligious traditions that we hold dear to, whether it's the Christmas turkey or ham, or lamb on Passover," Martosko said. "Bruce wants this vegan utopia. If he succeeds, it comes at the price of neutering a wide swath of religious traditions. I don't think they've counted on the backlash they're going to get. Most Christians I know will take Christ's word over Bruce Friedrich's seven days of the week."

Some figures in the religious vegetarian community are taking both Christ's and PETA's words seriously, even if they do not wholeheartedly agree with Friedrich's approach.

Richard Schwartz is the president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America and the coordinator of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians. The latter is an interfaith effort that believes all religions stress compassion toward animals, and both organizations have worked alongside PETA in years past.

"We don't agree 100 percent with PETA, but we agree in terms of the fact that animals are definitely mistreated. We have slightly different perspective, based on Jewish values, but it's to the same end," Schwartz said in a telephone interview from his home in Staten Island, N.Y.

"We've been trying to give people a wake-up call about how their meat is produced. We feel that shifting to vegetarianism is a societal imperative."

Schwartz said his research shows that 10 billion animals are raised every year in the United States in abusive "factory farms" where they are denied fresh air or space to move comfortably. Two-thirds of harvested grain in the U.S., and 37 percent worldwide, is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while about 20 million people continue to die each year from starvation.

Steve Kaufman, co-chair of the Christian Vegetarian Association, wants these points to be widely disseminated to the public. He said that he also is aware that many people attach a stigma to the members of the vegetarian movement, viewing them as hostile toward Christianity.

"I would say that most of the people who have been very critical of us have not read what we've said or have intentionally not understood us. It's a position that's not easy to argue with because it's Bible-based," Kaufman said in a telephone interview from his home in Cleveland. "We're frequently criticized for thinking we're better Christians than everybody else."

The difference between his and Friedrich's ideology, he said, is that Kaufman does not aver that eating meat is inherently sinful. He has no affiliation with Friedrich's campaign, and PETA does not hold jurisdiction over Kaufman or Schwartz's organizations.

One local woman who does cooperate with PETA and other animal rights groups is Regina Hyland, also known by her pen name, J.R. Hyland.

The ordained evangelical minister and Long Island, N.Y., native has lived in Sarasota since 1985, and maintains the philosophy that one's diet is a personal choice. Her convictions about her own are strong, but she does not condone forcing that opinion on others.

Hyland said she has been vegetarian for 32 years, ever since she witnessed brutal animal experiments during her time in a college laboratory. She said she went on to write "The Slaughter of Terrified Beasts: A Biblical Basis for the Humane Treatment of Animals in 1988," which was reissued in 2000 by Lantern Books under the title "God's Covenant With Animals."

Hyland said she believes that, just as Western culture used the Bible to denigrate women, to prolong slavery, and to justify war, the Scriptures have also been used to terrorize animals.

"The New Testament puts it succinctly: 'All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,' " Hyland said. "I feel so strongly about this, but it's not like I am trying to push anyone into something. I just really feel like it is a personal thing with me, and that's how it should be with everyone."

To Submit a Letter to the Editor of the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Go To:


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5. Church Of England Supports Sustainable Consumption

Forwarded message from Grist Magazine

Church of England Going Green
Daily Grist, 4 Feb 2005

The Church of England has joined the battle against global warming. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will unveil his green vision for the church and begin discussion on the issue of climate change during a General Synod meeting scheduled for Feb. 17, the day after the Kyoto Protocol goes into effect. In an accompanying report titled "Sharing God's Planet," Williams asks that each parish complete an "ecological audit" and introduce green policies, such as using organic bread and wine for Holy Communion, selling fairly traded products at church events, car pooling, and recycling waste. He also recommends that Christians adopt "sustainable consumption" and recognize their duty to "celebrate and care for every part of God's creation." Amen, brother.

straight to the source: The Independent, Robert Verkaik, 03 Feb 2005

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6. Material from the Canfei Nesharim Newsletter

*Canfei Nesharim is an organization of Orthodox Jews who are dedicated to educating the Orthodox community about environmental issues and their connection to Torah and halacha.

February 3, 2005 24 Shevat 5765

NOTE: This is a brief version of the newsletter, with links to articles so that you can browse it quickly. To read or print the entire newsletter, visit our website at http://canfeinesharim.org/newsletter.shtml

From the depths of winter, we celebrate the beginning of spring. Each year I'm amazed by Jews across the world who celebrate Tu b'Shevat seders by eating hard-to-find Israeli fruits from the midst of snowstorms and icy weather. We are demonstrating our faith that spring, and the redemption of Nissan, is coming, even when the weather is almost too cold to imagine it.

There is a lesson here. Just as the Jews are resilient, just as we keep our faith in the future, so is the earth resilient. Creatures of nature - trees, birds, wild animals, sea creatures - with Hashem's help, they survive the cold winter year after year. But despite their strength, these creatures are not impervious to our impacts. They can be harmed, and even destroyed, if we do not treat them with care. Our responsibility as frum Jews is to protect Hashem's creation. To stand awe of the greatness of the Creation, and to protect it, most of all when the ground is covered with snow and spring is just a hopeful dream.
~Evonne Marzouk

Lessons From a Tsunami
By: Rabbi Daniel Roselaar, Belmont Synagogue

We have learned valuable lessons from the destruction of the Tsunami. Although we this was a natural disaster, we would all be well-served to consider our role in creating other disasters. The first step to improving our planet is to identify the problems and see what we can do to fix them.

For the full article click here:

Mariculture in the Gulf of Eilat – The Controversy of the Fish Cages
Professor Steve Brenner, Department of Geography, Bar Ilan University

For the past few months, one of the most visibly debated environmental issues in Israel has been the fate of mariculture (fish cages) in the northern part of the Gulf of Eilat. In addition to the discussion in scientific, government, and public policy agencies, it has been the subject of an extensive media campaign (waged by the supporters and opposition). Professor Brenner explores the unique setting and conditions of the gulf, so that we can better appreciate Israel's actions regarding the environmental and economic issues involved with these fish cages.

For the full article click here:

**Join us at our second annual Shabbaton!**
Registration is now open for "Or L'Torah, Maayan L'Olam": a Canfei Nesharim Shabbaton, co-sponsored by the Young Israel Shomrai Emunah, in Silver Spring, MD on February 25-26. The event will include kosher and environmentally-friendly food, an inspiring keynote speaker, community participation, a nature walk, home hospitality, and many other exciting activities! The Sunday immediately following our Shabbaton(February 27th), the Institute of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) will hold their annual conference in Washington, DC (very close to Silver Spring).

**Volunteer Intern Position Available**
Canfei Nesharim is seeking an environmentally-concerned student with solid communications and organizational skills to serve as a student intern for Canfei Nesharim for the spring semester. The intern would volunteer 5-10 hours a week at our Bikkurim office in New York to help advance the mission of Canfei Nesharim – to educate the Orthodox community about the connections between Torah and protecting the environment. For more information or to apply, visit our website at www.canfeinesharim.org or email canfei.nesharim@verizon.net.

**Science Committee Chair Position Available**
Canfei Nesharim is seeking an environmentally-concerned, Orthodox Jewish scientist with solid communications skills to serve as the Chair of our Science and Action Committee. This is a volunteer position, which requires approximately 10 hours per month. Responsibilities include writing (or securing and editing) science and action articles for our monthly newsletter, reviewing our materials to ensure the best scientific content, and serving as liaison to the members of our Science Advisory Board. For more information or to apply, please send your resume to Canfei.nesharim@verizon.net. If you know anyone who may be interested in filling this role, please forward this message to them!

If you'd like to be involved with Canfei Nesharim in other ways, email Canfei.nesharim@verizon.net to get involved.

Canfei Nesharim would like to share the following upcoming opportunities with our readership. These activities may not be directly affiliated with our effort, but may be of interest to Orthodox Jews who care about the environment. If you know of any event that might interest our members, please let us know and we'll consider adding it to this list.

**Teva Adventure Summer Program
Teva Adventure, a not-for-profit organization that provides Jewish outdoor educational programs to the worldwide Jewish community, and NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) are teaming up to offer exciting, challenging outdoor Shomer Shabbat/kosher programs.

Each 2005 Teen Summer Program features a multi-week wilderness expedition, touring, and a volunteering service project. Learn outdoor skills, Torah perspectives on Judaism & nature and gain leadership and teamwork skills. Discover what it takes to celebrate Shabbat outdoors and how to keep kosher & live Jewishly in the wilderness.

For more information on each of these programs, and for our other programs, please visit our website at: www.tevaadventure.org

**Bar Ilan University Ph.D Opportunity

The Department of Geography at Bar Ilan University, which is now in the process of formally changing its name to Geography and Environment, has recently changed and expanded its program of study to include a multidiscplinary approach to environmental studies in addition to the traditional fields of geography. We anticipate filling one full time (12 month), tenure track faculty position for the academic year beginning 1 Oct 2005.

For further information:
Prof. Steve Brenner, Chair
Department of Geography
Bar Ilan University
Ramat Gan 52900
Phone: +972 3 5318340
Fax: +972 3 5344430
e-mail: sbrenner@mail.biu.ac.il

**Environmental Conference in Jerusalem
This pilot-conference is specifically geared towards the American and Israeli Jewish environmental activist and thinker for bridge-building, learning, and application between Torah, Jews, and the Earth that will include the following issues:
* Relating to our resources
* Approaches to activism in the Jewish community and beyond
* Balance of social responsibilities

Rabbis and teachers will use traditional oral and written sources to embark on a critical-learning process to regain a sense of how our people once conceived and protected our relationship with the Earth. The conference will also be a think tank of modern perspectives on today's issues and provide a chance to network and share information about eco-Judaism. There will also be opportunities for tiyulim (hiking) and volunteering at Israeli environmental projects. Tentative dates are January 2005 and May/June 2005. Subject matters and activities are flexible with participants' interests. For more information, please contact Shaul Judelman at organicjew@yahoo.com

**The Eco-Zionist Birthright Experience
Encounter Judaism and the land of Israel from a unique perspective! Learn about the complex environmental issues facing Israel today. Hike through beautiful forests, deserts, and mountains. Explore Jewish texts relating to the environment. Work alongside local citizens to shape a sustainable future for Israel. The 10 day trip is for 18-26 year olds who have never been to Israel as part of an organized group. This trip was created by Etz Hayim in partnership with birthrightisrael, Mayanot, and The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. For more information and to register for the trip, please go to the following link: http://www.israelexpress.org/eco .

**An Environmental Shabbaton — A Gift To Israel From Loving Jews
(Jewish Press Online)
David Mason, and his Wife Chana hosted an environmental shabbaton in Israel and it was reported in the Jewish Press Online. David also happens to be the Canfei Nesharim webmaster who does a fantastic job keeping our website up to date. Check out the article: http://jewishpress.com/news_article.asp?article=4600

**Joint Israel-Jordan Biological Field Survey Launched
(Israel Line - Wednesday, January 19, 2005)
The Jerusalem Post reported that scientists from Israel and Jordan began the first joint biological field survey on both sides of the border in the Dead Sea region. The two-day survey inaugurates field-level activities of the Bridging the Rift (BTR) project. At 22 selected sites, the team is collecting samples of plants and microbes that will be studied using advanced genetic and information technologies. This cooperation between Israeli and Jordanian scientists is unprecedented, said BTR organizers, who are building an infrastructure for future collaboration between the two former enemies.

Scientists from the two countries have been working together for the last 18 months with the support of Jordan's King Abdullah II and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. BTR founder and foundation president Mati Kochavi, an Israeli businessman living in New York, said he viewed the current cooperation with satisfaction. "This initial survey includes a large group of Jordanian scientists representing all the leading universities in Jordan. Many other scientists from Jordan and other Arab countries have also shown interest in the survey," he said. "I believe that this core of researchers, who are fully committed to the BTR project, have already shared their enthusiasm with their colleagues in Jordan. This willingness to cooperate with Israelis is an ideal basis for creating understanding, trust, friendship and peace between our two peoples."

Thank you for taking the time to focus on the importance of our natural world and our obligation to protect it. We look forward to sharing more Torah and avodas Hashem with you in the future.

Canfei Nesharim is eager to share our learning with many different Orthodox Jews around the world. Please forward this newsletter to anyone who would find it interesting, and print out the full version from www.canfeinesharim.org/newsletter.shtml to share with your synagogue, so that we can continue to develop our connections and engagement in the Orthodox community! And please encourage the people who would be interested to subscribe directly to our mailing list by sending an email to CanfeiNesharimsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

Canfei Nesharim expresses its sincere gratitude to Bikkurim, a joint project of JESNA, UJC, and the Kaminer Family, for taking us into their incubator for new Jewish ideas beginning in the Spring of 2004.

The Canfei Nesharim Steering Committee

Note: All materials published herein are Copyright 2005 by their authors. Reproduction of this material is encouraged so long as the footer and header information remains intact.

Many thanks to Steven Krieger, our editor, and the rest of the steering committee, who contributed to the development of this newsletter. If you would like to contribute materials or ideas to the newsletter, please contact Steven at StevenAKrieger@yahoo.com

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7. Planning for World Vegetarian Day, 2005

Forwarded message from JVNA newsletter reader Maynard Clark

Celebrating October 1 as World Vegetarian Day, every year, everywhere, since 1977.

I just created a private World Vegetarian Day group at Classmates.com where we can chat with one another about our strategic plans, post to our own message board, share photos of our events and outreach, and have a great time planning World Vegetarian Day for this coming year and in future years!

I think we'll need to keep something public in addition to our YahooGroups site for World Vegetarian Day in case we have problems with that venue.

Also, we will want you to invite OTHER vegetarian WVD (World Vegetarian Day) organizers and activists to join this network AND the WVD list at Yahoo! (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WorldVegetarianDay/) so that we can optimize our reach and make WVD in 2005 and 2006 and beyond a really awesome observance with great public notice, through the media, the press, and word of mouth.

If you would like to be invited initially to this private discussion group for activist-organizers only, so that you can invite others to it, please let me know. Please tell me about your plans or interest in making World Vegetarian Day a public fact worldwide, beginning with your locale, your media, your community -- and some ideas of how we can do this (to demostrate that you've already thought about the organizing issues -- don't just SAY that you're committed, or that you've organized in the past - show CURRENT commitment to THIS project in particular).

NOW, the World Vegetarian Day discussion list at http://Groups.Yahoo.com/group/WorldVegetarianDay/ has the following opening welcome and statement of list purpose:

This is ONLY for (a) announcing World Vegetarian Day events; (2) strategizing about World Vegetarian Day education, outreach, and events; and (3) discussing the history and future of World Vegetarian Day (as well as the present).

The day was established in 1977 by the North American Vegetarian Society, and is intended to promote the joy, compassion, and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism.

"World Vegetarian Day is a celebration, life-affirming," Lawrence Carter, volunteer at Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM), said. "World Farm Animals Day is the other side of the coin."

World Farm Animals Day, held annually on October second, is sponsored by FARM, a Bethesda, Maryland-based non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating and eliminating animal abuse. The purpose of World Farm Animals Day, according to FARM, is to expose as many people as possible to the suffering of farm animals and related damage to the environment and human health. The day was first observed in 1983 as a grass-roots outreach event and has grown to include over 250 observances nationwide this year.

SIMILAR events (World Vegan Day on November 1, UK Vegan Week, Great American Meatout on March 20, World Farm Animals Day on October 2) are suitable discussion topics when they illuminate understanding and publicizing World Vegetarian Day (e.g. learning from their experiences, comparing their markets and effectiveness, bundling them as a package of outreach programs by vegetarian or AR groups).

Observing World Farm Animals Day is decided by event organizers, according to FARM: funeral processions, candlelight vigils outside slaughterhouses and USDA, tabling, lectures, etc.

Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM), Bethesda MD (www.FARMUSA.org)
North American Vegetarian Society, Dolgeville NY (www.NAVS-Online.org)

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8. Sierra Club Press Release on Bush Administration Energy Policies

Reaction to State of the Union Address
Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director

"While President Bush's State of the Union address indicated that he understands Americans want cleaner energy, his speech misrepresented the true thrust of his polluting energy initiatives. President Bush highlighted small parts of his energy plan while glossing over the unpopular centerpiece of his efforts -- drilling for oil in special places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And his ludicrous assertion that nuclear power is "safe and clean" completely ignored the fact that there is still no way to safely transport and store nuclear waste.

"President Bush also failed to mention that strong enforcement of the existing Clean Air Act would do more to cut power plant pollution than his proposed legislation, which favors big energy companies. Similarly, while America does need energy policy that provides security while decreasing our oil dependence, the energy plan that Vice President Cheney developed behind closed doors with the energy industry will not get us there.

"We can free ourselves from dangerous nuclear power and the polluting industries of the past. We need to invest in modern, 21st century solutions that will produce real increases in efficiency, fuel economy and reliance on renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. By
investing in modern technology, America could cut its dependence on dirty fossil fuels while saving consumers money, preserving treasured places, and keeping our soldiers safe at home. We don't need to sacrifice Americans' lives, health or lands to meet our nation's energy needs."


More information about cleaner energy solutions can be found at

David Willett
Deputy Press Secretary
Sierra Club
(202) 675-6698

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9. New York Times Editorial on Some Human Costs of Meat Production

What Meat Means
Published: February 6, 2005

Most Americans do not want to know how the meat they eat is produced, if only so they can continue to eat it. Nearly every aspect of meat production in America is disturbing, from the way animals are raised, to inadequate inspection of the final product. When it comes to what happens in the slaughterhouse, most of us mentally avert our eyes. Yet in the past decade, the handling of livestock on their way to the killing floor has actually been one of the parts of the business that has improved most significantly. What is most alarming at the slaughterhouse is not what happens to the animals - they have already met their fate. It is what happens to the humans who work there.

A large slaughterhouse is the truly industrial end of industrial farming. It is a factory for disassembly. Its high line speeds place enormous pressure on the workers hired to take apart the carcasses coming down the line. And because the basic job of the line is cutting flesh - hard, manual labor - the dangers are very high for meat workers, whose flesh is every bit as vulnerable as that of the pork or beef or chicken passing by.

The problem of worker safety is compounded by the fact that meatpackers, driven by the brutal economics of the industry, always try to hire the cheapest labor they can find. That increasingly means immigrants whose language difficulties compound the risks of the job. The result, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch, is "extraordinarily high rates of injury" in conditions that systematically violate human rights.

In fact, the report finds, some major players in the American meat industry prey upon a large population of immigrant workers who are either ignorant of their fundamental rights or are undocumented aliens who are afraid of calling attention to themselves. As a result, those workers often receive little or no compensation for injuries, and any attempt to organize is met with hostility.

The industry has little incentive to improve conditions on its own, except a decent regard for human rights. The only reasonable prospect of improvement depends on the enforcement of federal and state law. Unfortunately, those laws at present are too weak and too riddled with loopholes to provide the regulations needed to increase worker safety and improve workers' rights. A systematic regulatory look at the meat industry, with an eye to toughening standards, is desperately needed.

In recent years, Americans have had the habit of thinking of wide-scale workplace abuses as foreign affairs - the kind of thing that turns up in Southeast Asia, for instance. And, in a sense, the abuses found in American slaughterhouses are international matters, because so many of the workers are actually citizens of other countries. But in this case, the abuses are taking place right at home, and as part of our food chain. In a carb-conscious era, the meat processing industry should be a place of opportunity for workers who put all that protein on your plate. Right now, that is hardly the case.

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10. Some Republican Leaders Joining the Battle against Global Warming

Forwarded message from Grist magazine:

New GOP leaders emerging in battle against climate change

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a leader in the Senate fight against Kyoto in 1997, has now got legislation in the works to address the global-warming problem. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) also plans to introduce a number of climate-related bills. Other senators, from Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) to Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), are joining the growing consensus that something must be done to stop the planet from overheating. You may have noticed the R's after all those names. How long can the top R hold out? Get the full story in Muckraker -- today on the Grist Magazine website.

today in Grist: The congressional climate is changing -- in Muckraker

sign up: Receive word by email each time a new Muckraker column hits the scene

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11. Are Mercury Regulations Biased Towards Industry?

Forwarded message from Grist magazine:

EPA inspector general finds proposed mercury rule biased for industry

Brace yourself -- your entire worldview is about to be shaken. Turns out, in coming up with its new rules on power-plant mercury emissions, the U.S. EPA violated agency protocol and ignored scientific evidence in order to stay in line with a predetermined goal that favors industry. Such is the conclusion of a new report from EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley. Said one EPA staff member present at meetings between administrators and staff, "Everything about this rule was decided at a political level. ... The political level made the decisions, and the staff did what they were told." The rules ended up exactly in line with those proposed in Bush's Clear Skies legislation, which would institute a cap-and-trade system and give power plants until 2018 to reach targets on emissions reductions. The report was promptly attacked by industry groups, Senate Environment Committee Chair James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and EPA Assistant Administrator (and former industry lobbyist) Jeffrey Holmstead, who said the rule-making process isn't even over and accused Tinsley of being politically biased.

straight to the source: The Washington Post, Shankar Vedantam, 04 Feb 2005

straight to the source: The New York Times, Felicity Barringer, 04 Feb 2005

straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Alan C. Miller and Tom Hamburger, 04 Feb 2005

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12. Action Alert: Saving Wild Horses

Forwarded message from the Humane Society of the United States


This week, Congressmen Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) introduced H.R. 297 in response to a last minute amendment by Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) to the omnibus appropriations bill passed late last year that weakens the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act by allowing wild horses to be sold for slaughter. The Rahall-Whitfield legislation would restore a federal prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros. “A public outcry has again begun across the United States over the change in law that now allows the commercial sale and slaughter of these animals,” said Congressman Rahall. “We need to act before it is too late for thousands of these animals.”

The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act passed in 1971 as a result of the enormous public outcry against wanton killing of wild horses. Before this bill was enacted, wild horses and burros were shot and slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands for use as pet food or for human consumption overseas. The recent Burns amendment has turned the clock back and set the stage for mass slaughter once again.


It is critical that your federal Representative hear from you today. Please ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 297 and to do all they can to ensure the enactment of this legislation. Please let your Senators know that you hope they will support similar legislation in the Senate, as well.

Letters and phone calls are most helpful. You can look up your legislators
at http://Congress.org, or just as us at mail@jewishveg.com.

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